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Giambi refuses to pull rank on spring road trips

Giambi refuses to pull rank on spring road trips

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- With nearly two decades spent in the big leagues, veteran Jason Giambi could walk into Terry Francona's office and request that the Indians manager only use the aging slugger in home games for Spring Training.

That is not in Giambi's character.

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"I could do that," Giambi said. "But then I would make his job more difficult, and that's not what I'm here for. I'm here to have fun. At times, when he'd be in a pinch, I'd even say, 'Hey, I'll go take seven Minor League at-bats.' It doesn't bother me. The most important thing is trying to be ready for Game 1."

Well, surely the 43-year-old Giambi drives his SUV to road games.

"I take the bus," he said with a laugh. "But then I have one of the clubhouse kids come drive over and come pick me up. I'm not stupid."

Francona was quick to note that making road trips during Spring Training is easier in Arizona, where no commute is more than 45 minutes from Cleveland's facility. Things are different for teams that train in Florida during the spring.

That said, Francona knows that Giambi would never ask to skip a road game.

"[That's] part of what makes 'G' special," Francona said. "That's not part of his program."

Giambi also takes pride on being a leader in the clubhouse and setting an example for the younger players on the roster. If the 19-year veteran is willing to hop on the bus for the longest road trip of the spring, it would be hard for a younger player to complain about doing the same thing.

"One person is not more important than this team," Giambi said.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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