The New York Yankees are ready to welcome back a face from the past while seeing an unfamiliar one Friday night.
Colorado (37-37) is making its first trip to the new Yankee Stadium, and the Bronx holds plenty of memories for Giambi. The slugger signed a $120 million, seven-year contract with New York after the 2001 season.
Giambi started his New York tenure with back-to-back 41-home run seasons before declining in subsequent years. He was slowed by numerous injuries and dogged by steroid allegations that culminated in a vague apology to fans.
This is Giambi’s second trip to the new Yankee Stadium. He went 1 for 10 with three strikeouts in two games with Oakland from April 21-22, 2009.
The slugger has taken advantage of interleague play on the road to start the last three games at designated hitter, going 4 for 12 with a three-run homer as the Rockies took two of three in Cleveland. He’s expected to serve as the DH on Friday against right-hander A.J. Burnett(notes) (7-5, 4.05 ERA).
Jimenez (2-7, 4.68) is excited about facing the Yankees (43-30) for the first time. He has gone 5-1 with a 4.18 ERA in his last seven interleague starts.
“It’s going to be a really big experience, not only for me but everybody that hasn’t been there,” Jimenez told the Rockies’ official website. “There’s a lot of history about the Yankees team. They have a lot of pride. They have a lot of honor. They’ve won 20-something World Series. That says a lot about the team.”
The right-hander notched a victory Saturday when he gave up three runs over five innings of a 5-4 win over Detroit. Jimenez exited after 83 pitches with a right calf cramp, but says he is OK.
Although New York has not faced Jimenez, some of its hitters have. Russell Martin(notes) is 8 for 25, Mark Teixeira(notes) is 0 for 8 with four strikeouts and Curtis Granderson(notes) is 2 for 7 against Jimenez.
Colorado was swept in its previous series in the Bronx from June 8-10, 2004. The Rockies swept a three-game home set en route to their lone NL pennant the last time these teams met in 2007.
Both teams have won every interleague series they have played in this season, with Colorado going 4-2 and New York 6-3.
The Yankees, winners of six of seven at home, have had off days sandwiched around Wednesday’s doubleheader split at Cincinnati that capped a 4-2 trip.
“If you can win series, you’re having a good trip,” manager Joe Girardi said.
Burnett has not faced the Rockies since joining the AL with Toronto in 2006, going 2-2 with a 2.40 ERA in four starts against them between 2001-04. Giambi is 5 for 23 (.238) against him and Todd Helton(notes) 4 for 12.
The Yankees starter had lost two straight outings before earning a 4-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Saturday, yielding two runs over 5 1-3 innings.