Via BBTF comes a good piece from the New York Observer about Jason Giambi’s 2008 campaign. Giambi, 37, is trying to make a move few his age make with much success: He is trying to move to the field after being a full-time DH.
Giambi, according to Medgal, discovered running this off-season and with it, he hopes, a Fountain of Youth:
Since signing a seven-year, $120 million contract with the New York Yankees prior to the 2002 season, Giambi has been an increasingly irregular presence in the lineup, and seeing him in the field has been an even greater rarity. In his first two seasons with the Yankees, Giambi played in 313 of a possible 324 games, 97 percent, including 177 at first base. But in the past four seasons, Giambi played just 441 of 648 games, and just 211 of those at first base. Last year, Giambi appeared in just 18 games at first base, and often was replaced in the late innings for defense…
“I’d get hurt all the time, and I just took it as part of getting older,” Giambi said as he stood near his locker before yesterday’s game against Toronto, a bat leaning against his leg. “But when I worked toward getting back from the plantar fasciitis, I worked with a new doctor, who deals with—well—ballet dancers. And he told me that I had really high arches. I got these inserts”—he gestured toward prescription orthotics in his cleats—“and suddenly it didn’t hurt to run anymore.”
Giambi suffered knee and back pain so quickly, along with “dead legs,” when running in the past that it was never part of his offseason regimen. But this winter, he said, he ran every day. Giambi found a track near his Las Vegas home and learned how to run without pain for the first time, 60 yards at a time.
This winter was the first time in his career that Giambi went through a running program, and the Yanks are hoping that Giambi’s legs will stay fresher for it this year. While Giambi talks about regaining quickness, his apparent injury yesterday bodes ill for his legs.
Right now, the Yanks have to hope that this supposedly new and improved Jason Giambi is also willing to let himself heal. But at 37, it’s hard to roll back the baseball clock as it keeps on ticking ever forward.