Notes: Torre pleased with Giambi

Notes: Torre pleased with Giambi

BALTIMORE -- As far as Joe Torre is concerned, Jason Giambi is back.

No, the slugger who won the 2000 American League MVP award hasn't returned to the form that made him one of the most feared hitters in baseball. But Giambi has shown something at the plate in recent weeks that gives Torre hope that the power will return shortly.

"You notice it in a lot of different ways," Torre said. "When he makes an out, he's not a happy camper, as opposed to expecting to make an out. That's a good sign. I think he's very good right now."

In the past two weeks alone, Giambi has contributed a pair of game-winning hits for the Yankees, including a walk-off home run against the Pirates on June 15.

Since the Yankees discussed the possibility of going to work out the kinks in the Minors on May 10, the first baseman/DH is hitting .307 (31-for-101) with two home runs and 16 RBIs in 32 games.

"It's nice that the whole body language is there," Torre said. "There's a lot more tenacity there than we've seen in a while, and what has brought that about is the confidence that he feels in every at-bat."

Mussina leaves town: Mike Mussina left Baltimore on Monday morning, returning home to Pennsylvania to be with his two youngest children after they were admitted to a hospital for food poisoning.

Shortly after arriving in Baltimore on Sunday night, Mussina called Torre to ask permission to go home for two days to be with his kids. Torre granted Mussina's request, as the pitcher had done his between-starts work on Sunday in New York.

Mussina's children, 6-year-old Brycen and 2-year-old Peyton, were released from the hospital on Tuesday. Torre said that Mussina, who starts for the Yanks on Wednesday night, was scheduled to arrive back in Baltimore either late Tuesday night or on Wednesday morning.

"He was very relieved today, because they finally kept some food down," Torre said.

Liking the lineup: On Tuesday, Torre stuck with the same lineup he used on Monday night, leaving Tony Womack in center field, Ruben Sierra in right and Gary Sheffield as the designated hitter.

"Another half-day off for Sheff," Torre said. "I figure two half-days were like one full day off. He's concerned that [Hideki] Matsui may have used up all of the hits in the DH role."

Bernie Williams, whose pinch-hit sacrifice fly in the eighth inning on Monday night proved to be the game-winner against the Orioles, was out of the starting lineup for a second straight night. He did pinch-hit in the 10th inning for Womack and grounded out to shortstop.

"Womack in the lineup gives us another dimension," Torre said. "Bernie is playing well enough that he can do what he did last night. He has some life in his hands, and mentally, he's into it."

Prospect promotion: The Yankees promoted outfielder Melky Cabrera, one of the organization's top prospects, from Double-A Trenton to Triple-A Columbus.

Cabrera hit .267 with nine home runs and 44 RBIs in 75 games with Trenton, but with the trade deadline approaching, the Yanks could be trying to showcase Cabrera at a higher level for other teams to see. He went 1-for-3 with a double in his first game with Columbus.

Another possibility is that the team could be rushing Cabrera through the system, trying to get a feel for whether he will be ready to play center field for New York in 2006.

Cabrera is scheduled to play in the Futures Game in Detroit during next month's All-Star festivities.

Close to the bigs? Kevin Reese's stint with the Yankees may be a short one, as Torre hinted on Tuesday that infielder Felix Escalona may be called up by the club later this week.

Escalona would have been called up when Rey Sanchez went on the disabled list on June 14, but Escalona was on the DL himself with a left hamstring injury. Instead, the Yankees brought up Andy Phillips, then Bubba Crosby, giving the team an extra outfielder while Matsui nursed a sprained right ankle.

Reese was called up earlier this week, but with Matsui healthy enough to play the outfield again, the team may bring Escalona up to give it some infield depth.

"The outfielder was more necessary when Matsui was laid up," Torre said. "We'll see what our options are and which way we're best suited."

Escalona is hitting .275 with seven home runs and 30 RBIs in 62 games for Columbus.

Ticket swap: Fans who attended the May 24 game against the Tigers at Yankee Stadium may exchange their tickets for a Tier Reserved or Bleachers ticket to either the Sept. 6 or Sept. 8 game against the Devil Rays, both scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET.

Tickets can be redeemed at Yankee Stadium Advance Ticket Windows only, starting Wednesday. Advance Ticket Windows are open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET and until the middle of the 7th inning of any regularly scheduled home game.

On deck: The Yankees and Orioles close out their three-game series on Wednesday night, as former O's ace Mussina takes the mound for the Yankees. Rookie right-hander Hayden Penn, the Orioles' top pitching prospect, gets the start for Baltimore.

Mark Feinsand is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.