Thursday, April 29, 2004

Giambi remembers fondly his days, teammates with A's

Enquirer wire services

NEW YORK - Jason Giambi spoke of the Oakland A's as if he were a proud papa.

The man who hastened Oakland's rise to American League prominence approved of Eric Chavez's signing, which interrupted the exodus of stars that Giambi accelerated after the 2001 season. Giambi also expressed fondness for Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito, the triple aces who successfully broke into the majors during his Oakland tenure.

With a .211 batting average, Giambi, who had an RBI single in three at-bats Tuesday as the Yankees' designated hitter, has more pressing concerns than the A's.

"You have to work hard and push your way out of this," said Giambi, referring not only to his slump but also to New York's offensive problems. "You're not going to flip a coin or turn on a switch."

But the AL Most Valuable Player for the 2000 A's still cares about his former team, saying he was "excited" to learn of Chavez's six-year, $66 million contract extension.

"I know he's excited to be there," Giambi said.

Referring to also-departed Miguel Tejada, Giambi continued: "With myself and Miggy, it was understandable that we moved on. But it's good to see it started with Chavvy. Hopefully they can keep some of the younger kids, too, like Hudson, Mulder and Zito, and go from there."

Kids? Asked how long he planned on referring to the Big Three that way, Giambi smiled and said: "Probably forever....It's been fun to watch them grow up. They know what they can do, and they all feed off each other. It's kind of fun to watch. They compete against each other, but in a good way."

SHOW AND TELL: It was show-and-tell time in the A's clubhouse, where Mark Redman passed around the World Series ring he won last year with the Florida Marlins.

Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, who lives in the New York area, delivered the ring to Redman, who joined the A's in a trade last December. He went 14-9 for Florida last season.

"I'm proud of this ring," Redman said. "It takes more than buying a team. It takes a lot of chemistry and hard work."

It may take hard work for Redman just to wear the ring. It weighs 3 1/2 ounces and is encrusted with 13 rubies and 229 diamonds, including a teal one from Belgium that represents the eye of the marlin leaping through the team's logo.

"I thought my wedding ring was large," Redman marveled. "It's definitely a statement piece."

NEWS AND NOTES: Left fielder Bobby Kielty, who hurt his ribs last week in the collision that injured Crosby, rejoined the lineup.

• Adam Melhuse has caught Hudson's past four starts, but manager Ken Macha insists that theirs isn't a set pairing. Macha acknowledged he will capitalize on Damian Miller's experience by using the veteran catcher with still-developing right-hander Rich Harden.

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