Veteran Giambi could nab roster spot

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Indians' decision on Jason Giambi's status later this spring will likely influence the way the club assembles the rest of its bench.

Giambi is in camp as a non-roster invitee, but he is in the mix for a spot on the Opening Day roster as a part-time designated hitter, first baseman and pinch hitter. Cleveland would be limited in how it could use Giambi, making versatility a must for the rest of the bench.

"We would have to make it work, yeah," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "That's something to think about, for sure."

As things currently stand, two of Cleveland's four bench roles will be occupied by backup catcher Lou Marson and utility man Mike Aviles, who can play multiple infield positions and the corner outfield spots. The four leading candidates for the other bench jobs appear to be Giambi, outfielder Ezequiel Carrera, utility man Ryan Raburn and catcher Yan Gomes.

Carrera, who is out of Minor League options, offers speed and solid contact ability at the plate, and he can play all three outfield positions. Raburn can provide depth at second and third base, as well as the corner outfield spots. Gomes -- a catcher by trade -- can also handle first and third base, as well as the outfield corners.

Having a fourth outfielder capable of playing center -- such as Carrera -- is not necessarily required given that Cleveland's three starting outfielders (Michael Brantley, Michael Bourn and Drew Stubbs) can each play center. First baseman Nick Swisher can also slide to right field, if needed.

As for the 42-year-old Giambi, Francona has continuously raved about what the veteran brings both on the field and in the clubhouse.

"You know what he has. He has like a presence about him," Francona said. "He doesn't swing at bad pitches ever. He'll take a walk, and he still has his bat speed. So, yeah, I've been very impressed. You watch him, if you watch him in BP, he hits until he feels good and then he gets out. That's just a veteran knowing his body."