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Giambi presented AL Comeback Award

Giambi presented AL Comeback Award

NEW YORK -- Jason Giambi had known this was coming since Thursday.

But it took three days and a rainout before Giambi could lay hands on his American League Comeback Player of the Year Award presented by Viagra.

"Well, I just hope he earns it a little bit more tonight," manager Joe Torre said before the presentation. "Jason certainly worked hard for this."

Giambi received the award Sunday at Yankee Stadium during a ceremony prior to Game 4 of the Division Series. Yankees public address announcer Bob Sheppard pronounced Giambi the winner and introduced a video tribute of Giambi highlights.

As the Foo Fighters' "Hero" blared through the Stadium, the board showed several game-winning home runs, several other towering blasts and even a few slick fielding plays. The video ended and Giambi trotted out on the field to a standing ovation.

Jimmie Lee Solomon, executive vice president of baseball operations for MLB, and Eric Sirota, executive vice-president of marketing for Pfizer, presented Giambi with the award. He posed for pictures before walking off and waving to the crowd, which roared when he subsequently doffed his cap in appreciation.

Giambi was named the AL Comeback Player of the Year on Thursday, coming out on top of a fan vote at MLB.com. Giambi received 100,037 votes, beating out Roy Halladay, Bob Wickman, Jay Gibbons, Barry Zito and Richie Sexson to win the award.

"It's unbelievable. I'm speechless," Giambi said Thursday after being informed he won the award. "I'm definitely honored. It's been a lot of hard work and a long road."

The slugger struggled through the early season, batting .231 for the season's first two months. But Giambi's batting stroke returned in June, when hit .310, and his power in July, when he exploded for 14 homers to earn AL Player of the Month accolades.

Giambi finished the season batting .271 with 32 home runs and 87 RBIs. He led the American League in on-base percentage, reaching safely at a .440 clip. That's higher than his career mark of .413, a testament to Giambi's keen batting eye. Even while struggling in April and May, Giambi's OBP was a robust .380.

As his swing improved, Torre responded by placing Giambi higher in the order. The first baseman climbed from eighth to seventh to sixth to fifth to third, where he remained throughout the ALDS.

"We felt it was necessary to do because of how much of an impact he's made on this ballclub," Torre said. "[For him] to be in the middle of our lineup gives you an idea of what kind of respect he has gotten back right now."

Ben Couch is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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