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Indians notebook: Jason Giambi interested in returning for another season at age 43

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ANAHEIM, CALIF.: Jason Giambi will be 43 next season, long past the age where most players have retired. Of course, most players aren’t around at 42, either.

Asked he if thought Giambi wants to come back, Indians manager Terry Francona said: “I think so. I think he said something about wanting to play until they tore his uniform off.”

Despite a .188 batting average, Giambi has been an important run producer, hitting eight home runs and amassing 29 RBI in only 154 at-bats. He also is the guru of the clubhouse.

Does Francona want him back?

“I’d love to have him,” he said.

And the year after that he could be on Francona’s coaching staff?

“I might be coaching for him,” Francona said.

MATSUZAKA RELEASED — Daisuke Matsuzaka asked to leave the Indians’ organization and was granted his release Tuesday.

“We didn’t have an immediate opportunity for him to pitch in the major leagues,” General Manager Chris Antonetti said. “He might have that opportunity elsewhere.”

Matsuzaka signed a minor-league contract with the Tribe last winter and has spent the season at Triple-A Columbus, where he compiled a 5-8 record and 3.92 ERA in 19 starts. In 103⅓ innings, he walked 39 and struck out 95.

“Early in the season, a number of things went wrong physically, so he was never really a candidate,” Francona said, referring to an oblique strain. “Lately, he’s pitched pretty well in Triple-A, but we didn’t have a need up here.”

Recently, Dice-K’s numbers have improved, but reportedly his stuff remains marginal, and at least three starters are ahead of him: Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar, who recently joined the Tribe, plus Trevor Bauer, who is still in Columbus.

NEAR MISS — Francona was prepared to use starter Scott Kazmir as a pinch runner if Giambi reached base in the eighth inning Monday night.

“Some guys [pitchers], if you told them to do that — they would do it — but they would roll their eyes,” Francona said. “Kazmir ran and got his spikes. That kind of attitude means a lot to me.”

There also would have been a certain entertainment value to see Kazmir run the bases.

“Seems like the other guys really wanted to see Giambi get on,” Francona said.

TO REITERATE — Antonetti continues to say that he is satisfied with the group of players he has but will try to add someone before the Aug. 31 trading deadline if feasible.

“I like the guys we have, but I’m always looking to improve the team,” he said.

KUDOS — Lake County catcher Jeremy Lucas, 22, was named by the Tribe as its Minor League Player of the Week for batting .389 with two doubles, one homer, six RBI and four runs.

FARM FACTS — Eric Haase hit his 14th home run of the year, doubled and singled twice, driving in three runs, as Lake County defeated Lansing 9-3 in Class A. Cody Ferrell had three hits and one RBI, and Leo Castillo tripled, homered and had one RBI.

— Sheldon Ocker


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