"I was worried that maybe it was broken," Giambi said after the Yanks' 2-1 win over the Orioles. "I actually wasn't able to touch it. But it's just a really bad bone bruise. Hopefully, on Friday it should be fine."
X-rays taken on Monday revealed a contusion, but the swelling two days later raised the question of whether it may be something more. Results of the MRI performed at the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center officially leave his status as day-to-day.
"I couldn't get my shoe on," Giambi said. "It's a little bit better, because we iced it all day. I'm just glad it's not broken, because that would have [meant] no playoffs."
Torre spoke to Giambi in the trainers' room before he left the stadium but was not able to ascertain much. Giambi was also hit by a pitch from Josh Beckett in the series at Boston, but Torre said that the Yankees' main concern was with the foot.
"Now it's just a matter of the soreness going away," Torre said. "He's pretty uncomfortable right now. Hopefully, the off-day [on Thursday] helps, and Friday he can come back here and get back in the swing of things."
In Giambi's absence, Doug Mientkiewicz started at first base for a fourth consecutive game, coming off a four-RBI performance on Tuesday against the Orioles.
Giambi, who missed two months this season with an injury to his left foot, is hitting .243 with 14 home runs and 35 RBIs in 74 games this season. He is batting just .208 with seven home runs and 12 RBIs in 77 at-bats since returning from his disabled-list stint on Aug. 7.
Shell shock: With Giambi out of the lineup, Shelley Duncan made his first start since Sept. 5, inserted into the lineup as designated hitter.
After being sidelined for a brief period with a bruised pelvis and a small inguinal hernia, Duncan said that the days of rest were "amazing" in regard to how they helped him control the issues.
"It's just something I really need to bear down on," Duncan said. "When something is tough, you need to bear down even more. That's what this game is all about, trying to stay strong."
Duncan made an immediate impact when he hit six Yankee Stadium home runs in his first 16 Major League games, but playing time down the stretch figures to be scarce. Even with Giambi sidelined, Duncan is listed behind Mientkiewicz and Wilson Betemit at first base on the depth chart, and Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon have been swapping the DH role for weeks.
"We haven't had an opportunity to put him in there, with Jason here, and Mientkiewicz and Betemit," Torre said. "He hasn't played for a while, so I think we're all curious."
Duncan said that his biggest concern is trying to keep his mind straight, even with limited at-bats.
"If I get in there, I just want to be as ready as possible and as focused as possible, and do my part to help this team," he said. "I'm trying to figure it out myself and learn as we go along."
Look who's back: After Derek Jeter hit a decisive three-run homer on Sunday, Roger Clemens stood in a hallway at Fenway Park and marveled at how his shortstop had continued to be productive on one knee.
Jeter isn't one to reveal his aches and pains, though he will occasionally succumb to a day off if pressured enough by Torre. Chances are that Jeter would be putting up quite a fight if asked now.
Jeter had hit in six straight games entering play Wednesday, and since the beginning of the Boston series, he had batted .435 (10-for-23) with two home runs, six runs scored, two doubles and five RBIs. Torre pointed to Jeter's continued clutch performance as the best example of the presence he has on the lineup: With two outs and runners in scoring position, Jeter is batting .426 (26-for-61), with 32 RBIs.
"I think that's a pretty good indicator on still having the edge that he has," Torre said.
Crosstown traffic: Torre said that he has loosely kept tabs on the struggles of his former third-base and bench coach, Mets skipper Willie Randolph, in recent days.
Randolph's club had lost five straight coming into Wednesday's action and may be losing its grip on the National League East, but Torre said that he had little concern for talk-radio gossip suggesting Randolph's job could be in jeopardy if the Mets miss the playoffs.
"He's a good communicator and he knows his baseball, and he's been on championship clubs," Torre said. "He's been a winner in New York. All these things, to me, are a great foundation for what he does. He's had success. You don't forget all of a sudden how to do things."
See you at the Stadium: The Yankees announced on Wednesday that they have sold a franchise-record 4,262,761 tickets for the 2007 season, surpassing their previous paid-attendance record of 4,243,780, set in 2006.
Through the first 76 games played at Yankee Stadium this season, the Yankees lead the Major Leagues in total home attendance (4,000,924) and average home attendance (52,644), and have outdrawn the American League average by more than 21,000 fans per game. There have been 45 sellouts at Yankee Stadium thus far in 2007, including a stretch of 21 consecutive sellouts from July 22 to Sept. 3.
This season marks the third consecutive year the Yankees have reached the 4 million mark in home attendance, joining the Toronto Blue Jays (1991-93) as the only other Major League team to accomplish the feat in three straight seasons. The Yankees have also seen their home attendance increase in each of the last seven seasons.
Bombers bits: The Yankees will send four prospects to play for the Honolulu Sharks of the Hawaiian Winter League, which begins play on Sept. 29. The selected players are right-handers Anthony Claggett, George Kontos and Mark Melancon, and outfielder Austin Jackson. ... With a prospective four starters lined up for the Yankees' potential postseason berth, Torre said the team could consider using either Phil Hughes or Ian Kennedy in relief. That hints at Mike Mussina having earned a playoff start. ... Andy Pettitte had 199 career victories coming into Wednesday's start.
Coming up: The Yankees enjoy an off-day on Thursday before opening a four-game series with the Blue Jays on Friday at Yankee Stadium. Right-hander Chien-Ming Wang (18-7, 3.82 ERA) gets the call for New York, with right-hander Roy Halladay (15-7, 3.82) throwing for Toronto. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. ET.