8/8/2014 7:10 P.M. ET
Giambi expecting to be activated in September
Indians slugger playing role of leader since going on the disabled list in June
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- Indians designated hitter Jason Giambi either has the best job in baseball or the worst one. For the past two months, the aging slugger has remained in the locker room, while residing on the disabled list with a knee issue that is no longer of much concern.
The 43-year-old Giambi has willingly embraced his role as a clubhouse leader and accepted his place on the DL in order to help Cleveland better manage its roster. With the season now into August, Giambi is not expecting to be activated until rosters expand beyond the 25-man limit on Sept. 1.
"I'm moving around fine. I feel good," Giambi said on Friday afternoon at Yankee Stadium. "But, unless something happens, I'm going to probably assume it'll be in September."
Indians manager Terry Francona said Giambi's activation might come sooner.
"It could be before September," Francona said. "But, that'd be at the latest. I'd love to get him back sooner, just because I'd like to look out for him, but we'll see. I know it's tough, but the good thing is he has handled it really well."
Giambi, who has been shelved since June 12 with what the club described as left knee inflammation, admitted that his situation has indeed been hard at times. After 20 seasons in the Majors, though, the DH and pinch-hitter understands he can still help the team without stepping into the batter's box.
"It's tough. It's tough sitting," said Giambi, who has hit .128 with two home runs in 47 at-bats this season. "But, at the same time, that's why I came here, to help the kids and help us go through our ups and downs. It's been going good. Actually, it's been easier to help the guys, because I don't have to worry about pinch-hitting.
"It's easier to help them with their game plans during the game and after the game, things like that. I'm just kind of waiting for my time. I've got plenty to do, so it's not like I'm sitting doing nothing. That's what happens when you don't play a spot anymore. That makes it tough. But, I'm not worried about it. Whatever works best for the team."
Giambi is, however, looking forward to stepping to the plate again for Cleveland.
"It'd be fun. It'd be exciting," he said. "But the biggest thing is, I need to help these guys now or September isn't going to mean anything. That's my most important role right now. That's what my approach is."
Swisher may be in line for more outfield duty
NEW YORK -- The Indians did not hand Nick Swisher a long-term contract two winters ago with the idea that he would develop into a full-time designated hitter. As this season has progressed, though, that has appeared to be the road they're going down with their struggling star.
Sitting in the visitors' dugout at Yankee Stadium on Friday, general manager Chris Antonetti disagreed that Swisher might be already heading down a path toward full-time DH duty. In fact, Antonetti hinted that there could be more outfield in Swisher's future with the Tribe.
"I don't think we've looked at it at all like that," Antonetti said of Swisher being a full-time DH down the road. "We asked Swish to try to go out to left field [Wednesday and Thursday], because it was a way for us to get him in the lineup. But having the offseason and having Spring Training to prepare, I'm not concerned at all about it.
"I think that again, just to rewind a little bit, the plan coming into this year was for Nick to play a lot of first base. So, he prepared in the offseason and in Spring Training to do that, and not play a lot in the outfield. Going into next year, the plan could be different.
"Giving him that head's up and allowing him the offseason to go and prepare to be an outfielder, come into camp, get reps in the outfield, that will prepare him better for the season."
The 33-year-old Swisher -- signed to a four-year pact worth $56 million prior to last season -- began spending more time at DH after Carlos Santana emerged as the better option at first base. Complicating matters for Swisher has also been that he has battled knee issues off and on this year.
Antonetti did not feel the knee problems would lead to surgery over the winter.
"I've got no indications that that's the case," the GM said.
Swisher, who was in the lineup as the right fielder on Friday against the Yankees, had posted an uncharacteristic .207/.278/.332 slash line with eight home runs and 42 RBIs through 95 games. Since the beginning of June, he has played only six of 46 games at first base, spending most of his time as the Tribe's DH.
"Nick wants to play. He loves playing and he'll do anything he can to help the team," Antonetti said. "This season hasn't unfolded for him individually maybe the way we had all hoped, but there are a lot of players who have those years in their career. The important thing will be to finish the season strong and then get to the offseason, and do everything he can to prepare to come into next season and put this year behind him."
Quote to note
"We're going to have a breakout. You usually have two or three a year and we've only really had one, where we were playing really good baseball. Other than that, it's been a couple wins here, a couple losses there. We're going to get hot."
-- Indians veteran Jason Giambi .
• Center fielder Michael Bourn, who is on the 15-day disabled list, went 0-for-3, manned center field and logged seven innings in a Minor League rehab game with Double-A Akron on Thursday. Francona indicated that Bourn was feeling good and he was scheduled to play seven innings again for Akron on Friday.
• All-Star outfielder Michael Brantley, who ran hard into the center-field wall at Great American Ball Park on Wednesday night, said he was feeling fine on Friday. To help give Brantley's legs some rest, Francona gave the center fielder a day as the team's DH for the opener of the three-game weekend set against the Yankees.
• Francona gave Lonnie Chisenhall a day off from starting on Friday, because the manager felt the third baseman has looked fatigued of late. Since Chisenhall was batting .393 with a 1.057 OPS on June 11, he has hit just .198 (33-for-167) with a .595 OPS through 45 games.