07/12/2004 7:58 PM ET
Giambi plans to start tonight
First baseman vows to play after missing HR Derby
By Mark Feinsand / MLB.com
HOUSTON -- Jason Giambi will take the field Tuesday night for the third time as an American League All-Star starter, but the hulking first baseman won't have a chance to take part in his favorite All-Star event.
|Jason Giambi is still trying to recover from an intestinal parasite that has kept him in the dugout all week. (Kathy Willens/AP)
Giambi, who has been recovering from an intestinal parasite for the past two weeks, was scheduled to participate in the Century 21 Home Run Derby, but after talking to manager Joe Torre on Sunday, he decided to pull himself out of the event.
"I'm feeling better every day," Giambi said. "We talked yesterday before we left, and the Yankees expressed their concern about the Home Run Derby. I decided to pull out, not upset them and take the rest."
"We've talked for a few days," Torre said. "With how many swings it is and how far he's come back now, he's getting close to being good for us. I don't want to jeopardize that."
Despite his absence from the home run contest, Giambi will be in the starting lineup for the AL on Tuesday night, playing first base and batting sixth. Having been voted in by the fans, Giambi felt it was his duty to play in the Midsummer Classic.
"It's very important, especially to be voted in by the fans," Giambi said. "I'll take a couple of at-bats and have fun. I enjoy coming here."
Giambi has had a rough first half, battling an ankle injury and the parasite while playing in just 64 games. Giambi is hitting .241 -- about 60 points below his career average -- with 11 home runs and 35 RBIs.
"I was right there on the verge of being where I wanted to be, and this bug cost me about a month and a half," Giambi said. "I went out and tried to play through it, which cost me some points. I'm going to keep a positive attitude. I have to try to have the big second half that everyone is hoping for."
Giambi will see familiar faces everywhere he looks. When he steps to the plate, his first at-bat will be against Roger Clemens, his teammate of the past two years in New York.
"It will be fun to compete against him again," Giambi said. "He's one of the best pitchers in the history of the game, so if you can't get up for that at-bat, you can't get up for anything."
When Giambi takes the field, he will have former teammate Alfonso Soriano to his right at second base, and current teammates Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez on the other side of the field. Giambi is also very familiar with his starting pitcher, former Oakland teammate Mark Mulder.
"I'll be out there with the same guys I've played day-in and day-out with," Giambi said. "It should be a lot of fun."
Mark Feinsand is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.