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Giambi named to AL All-Star team
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07/09/2003  7:26 PM ET 
Giambi named to AL All-Star team
First baseman replaces Mike Sweeney on roster
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Jason Giambi was batting .268 with 23 home runs and 65 RBIs entering Wednesday's action. (Ben Margot/AP)
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NEW YORK -- Jason Giambi is headed to Chicago after all.

Giambi, who fell short in his bid to become the 32nd man on the American League All-Star team via the etopps All-Star Final Vote, was named to replace Mike Sweeney on Wednesday, as the Royals first baseman is unable to take part in the festivities due to a back injury.

"I feel sorry for Mike, because he's a real good friend of mine," Giambi said. "But I'm definitely excited to go."

For Giambi, this will be his fourth consecutive All-Star appearance, having started the games in 2000 and 2002. Giambi got his first All-Star hit last season in Milwaukee, going 1-for-2. Yankees manager Joe Torre informed Giambi of the news before Wednesday's 6-2 win over Cleveland.

"He congratulated me before the game," Giambi said. "It was great news to hear."

"I think it's great," Torre said. "I know he's thrilled."

Giambi, who won last season's Home Run Derby during the All-Star week in Milwaukee, said that he plans to take a shot at back-to-back crowns.

"If they ask me to, definitely. I'd love to try to defend my title," Giambi said. "I love it. I think it's a good time, and the fans love it."

2003 All-Star Game

2003 All-Star Game information >

Giambi does not have an All-Star bonus built into his Yankees contract, but he will receive an incentive bonus from some of his endorsers, most prominently Nike.

Toronto's Carlos Delgado was voted in as the AL's starting first baseman, while Sweeney was selected as a reserve. Sweeney will still attend the All-Star activities, but will not participate.

"I knew he was hurt, but Frank Thomas was available also," Giambi said. "It's exciting, especially after the slow start I had. I've been working hard, so it's gratifying."

Giambi is batting .264 with 23 home runs and 65 RBIs through Wednesday. He battled an eye infection throughout May, but bounced back with a huge June, winning the AL Player of the Month award for the fourth time in his career.

Giambi batted .373 (31-for-83) in 27 games in June, hitting 11 home runs and driving in 29 runs. The first baseman also led the AL with an .819 slugging percentage and a .554 on-base percentage, and tied for the league lead with 27 runs scored.

"With that eye infection, I sputtered for about three weeks," Giambi said recently. "I could see, it just wasn't crisp. I was having trouble with off-speed pitches. The way they pitch me, I don't get fastballs down the middle anymore. Now, I'm taking consistent at-bats again and hitting the ball hard."

Giambi leads the American League in walks with 73, 12 more than Chicago's Frank Thomas. He also ranks among the league leaders in home runs (second, behind only Delgado), RBIs (sixth) and on-base percentage (.419, fourth in the AL).

Giambi has homered once every 13 at-bats this season, the second-best ratio in the AL. Only Delgado has gone deep more often, homering once every 11.6 at-bats.

Mark Feinsand is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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