CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – For the first time this season, Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona was able to write Jason Giambi’s name in the club’s starting lineup.
On Monday, the team activated the 43-year-old designated hitter from the 15-day disabled list. Immediately after being activated, Giambi was penciled in the seventh spot in batting order for Monday’s four-game series opener against the Kansas City Royals.
“If I’m going to come off the DL, that’s the way to do it,” Giambi said. “We’ll get the first one out of the way and hopefully get a win today.
“The first one is always where the adrenaline kicks in, you’re excited to be playing, and then you get into the groundhog day of being part of the ball club.”
Giambi will resume his occasional DH and pinch-hitting role with the Indians. The veteran hit nine homers and drove in 31 runs in 186 at bats with the Tribe in 2013.
“He means a lot to what we do,” Francona said. “If he wants to hit a homer or two today, that’s welcome. But having him back is really good.”
Giambi will suit up for the Tribe for the first time since being hit by a pitch from Chicago Cubs starter Edwin Jackson on March 7 during Spring Training. A few days later, the left-handed hitter was diagnosed with a non-displaced rib fracture.
After being held out of the rest of the team’s Cactus League games, Giambi rehabbed with Double-A Akron. He went 0-8 with two walks in three games with the RubberDucks.
He’s one of the more special people that we’ve all been around,” Francona said. “So, to have him back fighting with us is a good feeling.”
To make room on the 25-man roster, the team sent reliever Blake Wood to Triple-A Columbus. The righty has originally made the club’s Opening Day roster after a strong spring.
“Up until the end of spring training, I probably fell on the side of starting him in Triple-A because I think his ceiling is so high and he can help us,” Francona said of Wood. “I was afraid, coming out of the gate, there would be some inconsistent work and maybe we’d see what we did.
“In fairness to him, the last two weeks of spring training, I don’t know if a guy put a bat on the ball. It would have been a hard send down.”
The 28-year-old surrendered five runs in 6.1 innings, striking out seven. His command continued to be his biggest downfall, walking seven in his first seven appearances.
“I think if he gets consistent work in Triple-A, he can come back and really help us. So that’s why we did it,” Francona said.
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