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Yankees' Giambi Gets In His Swings

Friday, March 4, 2005; Page D11

Jason Giambi returned to the major leagues after an offseason filled with accusations of steroid use, walking twice and grounding out yesterday as the New York Yankees opened the exhibition season with a 2-2 tie against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Tampa.

"This is fun, a set of little hurdles -- the intrasquads, get a chance to play in a real game," Giambi said. "I'm excited to get out there, getting a chance to play and have positive at-bats. That's the biggest thing, tracking the ball well. And when you start doing that, you can start getting pitches to hit and hitting them hard and go from there."

Yankees first baseman Jason Giambi jogs to first after being walked by Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Kip Wells. (Tony Gutierrez - AP)

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Fans in the sellout crowd of 10,041 cheered Giambi on the cool, cloudy afternoon.

"They've been unbelievably supportive, so that's exciting," Giambi said.

Tino Martinez, playing first base, got the biggest cheers of the day. In his first game with New York since the 2001 World Series, he grounded out and walked.

Meantime, catcher Jorge Posada (stiff neck) didn't play. Randy Johnson is still scheduled to make his spring training debut Tuesday.

-- From News Services

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