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Notes: Giambi to have cortisone shot

Notes: Giambi to have cortisone shot

TORONTO -- Jason Giambi believes it would have been just a matter of time for the Yankees' worst-kept secret to get around the league.

Hampered by a bone spur and plantar fasciitis in his left foot, Giambi has been unable to push off and drive the ball while batting, which has landed the 36-year-old slugger in a 4-for-24 funk entering Tuesday's game.

With that in mind, Giambi has successfully lobbied for the Yankees' medical staff to allow him to receive a cortisone injection, tentatively to be delivered during the team's Thursday off-day in New York.

"I do fine for one day, and then I struggle for three," Giambi said. "We obviously need me to be that player that I am, where I can help carry the team. Singles aren't really going to get it done. I've got to be able to drive the ball."

Giambi said that the medical staff did not respond favorably to his original requests for a cortisone injection, and that it took some convincing.

"In my opinion, it's nice to be in the lineup, but if I'm not going to help, the [threat] of the Giambi name is eventually going to go," Giambi said.

Giambi first made his physical ailments public during the club's series at Chicago on May 15-17, and though a set of custom-made orthotic inserts helped quell some of Giambi's discomfort, he hasn't found his way completely back to form.

Giambi was back in the lineup as the Yankees' designated hitter for Tuesday's game at the Rogers Centre after sitting out Monday's series opener against the Blue Jays.

"We'd much rather have a healthier guy at this point in time, but I'd rather have him in the lineup than not," Yankees manager Joe Torre said.

Giambi had just three hits in 18 at-bats (.167) on the Yankees' recent homestand, and while he says it's possible for him to draw pitches for the rest of the club's lineup, Giambi understands the clock may be running out on the Yankees' season sooner than they would hope.

"We can't afford to let ourselves get any further back," Giambi said. "In a perfect world, everybody would say to take a little time to heal. We don't have time, unfortunately."

Drawing on experience: A world away and more than a decade ago, Hideki Matsui recalled a club playing just about the same way the Yankees have scuffled of late.

Matsui's Yomiuri Giants club was dredging through the middle of summer in 1996, staring up at a double-digit deficit in Japan's Central League. They rallied down the stretch to secure a league title, with Matsui securing honors as the league's Most Valuable Player.

Those memories, Matsui said, offer him hope that a similar rebound is possible for the 2007 Yankees, who enter play Tuesday a season-low seven games under .500 at 21-28.

"Naturally, we can believe and accept the situation and still believe strongly that we're going to come back," Matsui said through an interpreter. "One must understand that, as a player, you have a responsibility to come and play.

"You give 100 percent and do everything you can for the team. In that sense, I think difficulty comes with the job. All you've got to do is just keep believing that there's a way out and that we're going to come out of this."

With just six hits in his last 22 at-bats, Matsui has been one of the numerous Yankees players to slump in the season's first two months. He said that his eighth-inning home run Monday, a two-run shot to center field off Toronto's Dustin McGowan, might help to spark a turnaround.

"You never know," Matsui said. "A home run like that can lead to something for the team to turn things around, but I think winning is really more the key."

Posada banged up: Torre revealed that catcher Jorge Posada, the American League's leading hitter with a .363 mark entering play Tuesday, has been nursing issues with a tendon behind his left knee.

Torre said that Posada may not play in Wednesday's series finale against the Blue Jays in order to keep him available for all three games of the upcoming Red Sox series. Backup Wil Nieves would catch.

"It is tough to rest him, but you know if you want him for the long haul, you have to do that," Torre said.

No encore: It didn't have quite the same buildup as Roger Clemens' performance Monday, nor did it have the same dominant results.

Kei Igawa's first effort for the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees was a loss, as the left-hander allowed four runs and eight hits in five innings against the Toledo Mud Hens, the same lineup Clemens bested in what appears to have been his final Minor League tuneup start en route to a big-league assignment Monday at Chicago.

Igawa walked one and struck out six in the effort, which included a two-run homer by Chris Shelton and ended in a 4-3 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre loss. Igawa signed a five-year, $20 million contract with the Yankees in January after the club offered a $26 million posting fee for Igawa's rights from the Hanshin Tigers.

Back in action: Right-hander Scott Proctor, who was sidelined Monday evening with a stomach virus, was available for Tuesday's game, Torre said. Proctor spent part of the afternoon carefully sipping protein shakes to test his system before working out.

Coming up: The Yankees wrap up their three-game series at Rogers Centre on Wednesday, sending right-handed rookie Tyler Clippard (1-1, 3.60 ERA) to the mound for his third big-league start. The Blue Jays counter with right-hander Jesse Litsch (1-1, 3.55 ERA), with first pitch set for 7:07 p.m. ET.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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