Jason Giambi thought he would be a manager this season. Instead, he’s still playing.
Giambi drove in two runs and Justin Masterson outpitched Hyun-Jin Ryu on Wednesday, leading the Cleveland Indians to a 4-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
After interviewing for the Colorado Rockies’ managerial opening — which went to Walt Weiss — the 42-year-old Giambi signed a minor league deal with Cleveland just ahead of the start of spring training with hopes of playing one more season in an 18-year career.
He singled and hit a sacrifice fly to pace the Indians’ offense against the Dodgers.
“Jason is not just helping the younger guys,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “(He’s) helping the older guys and me. I’ve already gone to him three times just with questions. He’s not a veteran. He’s THE veteran.”
Masterson had a subpar 2012 campaign after shoulder surgery in October 2011. He pitched three-hit ball with four scoreless innings. He struck out three, while inducing three double-play grounders.
“In general, I feel better than this time last year,” Masterson said. “Last year we were pushing a little to get back with the shoulder. I got some balls on the ground. I mixed in a few sliders today. It is more or less where we want to be this early in spring.”
Ryu agreed to a six-year, $36 million deal with Los Angeles in December. He allowed two runs and three hits in three innings. The five-time Korean Baseball Organization strikeout leader struck out five.
The 25-year old is working on his breaking ball while trying to win one of the three open spots in the Dodgers’ rotation.
“Since the first time I pitched against the Angels, I feel that my breaking pitches have improved,” Ryu said through an interpreter.
Ryu started the fourth inning but gave up two hits before Don Mattingly removed him for Matt Palmer.