When veteran slugger Jason Giambi went 0-for-4 Friday night in the Indians 8-1 loss to the Red Sox, it extended his hitless streak to 24 at-bats – the third longest slump of his 19-year career.
Considering Giambi interviewed for the Colorado Rockies managerial job before signing with the Tribe in February just before spring training began, it’s obvious that he knows his playing days are ultimately numbered.
But Indians manager Terry Francona was adament before Saturday’s game that just because his designated hitter is 42-year old and has plenty of gray in his facial hair, it doesn’t mean he should hang up his cleats this season.
“(Heck) no,” Francona said. “I'll tell you what, ask me that when he's 44. I think he's got himself in a position lately where his bat speed is better. He was battling a (stiff) neck for a while and getting in position where he couldn't show his bat speed.
In 18 games with the Indians, Giambi is batting a team-worst .150 (9-for-60) with three doubles, two home runs and 12 RBI. He has also struck out 16 times and walked just eight.
But Giambi’s statistics aren’t the only thing that makes him worth having around.
“The saving grace is that before he steps in the batter's box, he's already valuable,” Francona said. “I know he's not happy with where his batting average is. But he's smart enough to know what he can do.
“He’s not going to sulk around here. You watch, he'll get some hits and help us win a game. It's just that he has to put up with the aggravation of looking at his batting average right now. But he's strong enough to do that.”