Wednesday, January 07, 2009
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Giambi close to completing deal to return to A's

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[January 07, 2009]  OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Jason Giambi might just finish his career where it began more than a decade ago. The free-agent first baseman was close to completing a deal Tuesday to return to the Oakland Athletics nearly 14 years after making his debut with the club, according to two people familiar with the negotiations. The sides had reached a preliminary agreement, pending a physical, on what is expected to be a one-year contract with an option.

The people spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because the deal had not been finalized, though a formal announcement by the A's could come as soon as Wednesday.

"I can confirm that I have spoken with the A's regarding Giambi, however, I cannot comment on the status of the negotiations," Giambi's agent, Arn Tellem, said in an e-mail to the AP.

The addition of Giambi would be the second big offseason acquisition by A's general manager Billy Beane, who made a trade with Colorado for star outfielder Matt Holliday back in November.

Giambi, who turns 38 on Thursday, spent the past seven seasons with the Yankees. New York declined its $22 million option on him after last season, choosing instead to pay him a $5 million buyout.

Oakland announced in early November that Bob Alejo would become its new director of strength and conditioning -- a sign Giambi might be next to come back and return to his roots. Alejo served as the A's strength and conditioning coach from 1993-2001 and followed Giambi to the Yankees, working for Giambi personally and for the team during some years.

Giambi won the AL MVP for Oakland in 2000, then left for New York following the 2001 campaign. The slugger enjoyed each return visit to the Bay Area, seeing old friends and making trips to the popular California chain of In-N-Out Burger. He said he tried to open an In-N-Out in New York to no avail.

Giambi, a second-round draft pick by the A's in 1992, is a .286 career hitter with 396 homers and 1,279 RBIs in 14 big league seasons. He made his major league debut for Oakland on May 8, 1995.

Giambi batted .247 with 32 home runs and 96 RBIs in 2008 for the Yankees, who missed the playoffs despite their $200 million payroll after a run of 13 consecutive postseason appearances. That's just one shy of the record set by the Atlanta Braves from 1991-2005.

[Associated Press; By JANIE McCAULEY]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.




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