Jason Giambi was not only a pinch hitter extraordinaire for the last four seasons with the Colorado Rockies, but known around Coors Field as practically a player-coach. So, it wasn’t much of a surprise when his name was mentioned for the managerial vacancy that the team eventually filled with former Rockies shortstop Walt Weiss.
Giambi signed a minor league deal with the Cleveland Indians in the offseason, and already he’s getting some high praise from manager Terry Francona. In an interview with radio station WKNR in Cleveland (conveniently transcribed by Sports Radio Interviews), Francona says that it’s his veteran player who’s become a source of new information for the veteran manager.
“… I’d be lying if I said he’s not special,” said Francona. “I’ve already gone to him two or three times with questions about things. It’s just the way he is. He’s a manager-in-waiting. I guess we hope that it just doesn’t start too soon and we have him for the year.”
Giambi is likely to make the Indians’ roster as a pinch hitter and designated hitter this spring. However, with the attention he’s already received for his baseball acumen, he’s clearly already set up for a career beyond baseball despite his associations with performance-enhancing drugs and the BALCO scandal.