'Special' Giambi returns to Rockies in style

'Special' Giambi returns to Rockies in style

DENVER -- Jason Giambi made a successful return to the Rockies on Saturday.

Playing in his first game for Colorado since July 20, Giambi, who had been sidelined with what has been termed a viral infection, pinch-hit in the eighth and flared an opposite-field broken-bat single to left field, the ball just eluding Padres shortstop Evereth Cabrera's sliding attempt to catch it.

Giambi received a loud ovation when he came to bat, with many of the fans standing. "It was pretty impressive," Giambi said. "Very honored. Very honored."

Manager Jim Tracy said of the 41-year-old Giambi, whose Major League bottom line includes 429 home runs, 1,405 RBIs and an American League MVP Award: "He's a rock star, he really is. And he's embraced by these fans, evidenced by the ovation he got when he showed up as a pinch-hitter."

Tracy said Giambi's presence on the bench might cause the opposing manager to get a left-handed pitcher up and expend warm-up pitches.

"He creates all kinds of strategic possibilities for you with his mere presence," Tracy said. "That's the baseball-playing part. But he also is a presence with our young players, and he's a breath of fresh air with our young players to be as approachable a guy as he is with the resume that he has. It's real special."