Spring Training Notes 3/1: Jason Giambi keeps giving back to the Cleveland Indians

It has been over two years since Jason Giambi last played with the Cleveland Indians. The 20-year veteran has used his prosperous MLB career as a coaching tool with the Tribe at this year's spring training in Goodyear, AZ.

Jason Giambi played for four different franchises from 1995-2014: Oakland Athletics (1995-2001, 2009), New York Yankees (2002-08), Colorado Rockies (2009-12) and Cleveland Indians (2013-14).

While his two-year tenure with the Tribe marked his shortest amount of service time, Giambi has made the commitment to give back to the organization and act as a guest instructor alongside manager Terry Francona this spring.

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- For the second consecutive year, Giambi has been working with hitters and assisting on-field drills over the last two weeks.

"It's unbelievable. He's such a special person," said Francona on Wednesday. "Every day he spends here is a bonus for everybody, myself included."

Giambi clubbed 440 home runs and tallied 1,441 runs batted in with a .277 batting average before announcing his retirement on Feb. 17, 2015.

His warming presence helped develop younger players like Jason Kipnis, Corey Kluber, Carlos Santana and Michael Brantley back in 2014 when the club finished with a respectable 85-77 record.

"I just think we're fortunate that he has our uniform on," Francona said. "I guarantee you when somebody's out on the field and they see G coming that they're glad."

- With the World Baseball Classic scheduled for 2017, Roberto Perez decided to train with fellow countryman Yadier Molina this off-season. 

"I know he really looks up to Yadi," said Francona. "If you're going to look up to somebody, that's pretty good. Besides the obvious skills you see, from what I understand his work ethic is really good. I think he pushes Roberto in the winter."

Perez had a breakout campaign behind the plate by leading the MLB in caught stealing percentage with a 50% clip (13-26) and three postseason home runs to boot.

The 28-year-old catcher will backup Molina for Puerto Rico beginning on Mar. 10 in a clash with Venezuala.

- Edwin Encarnacion's dedication toward getting acclimated with his new clubhouse has shown in the early stages of big league camp. 

"I think the first time you leave your first organization, that can be hard," Francona said. "I don't think you're the new guy for very long. There's a comfort level for when a guy's in a place for a number of years, and then he comes here and he's not sure where everything is, but that doesn't last very long. A clubhouse is a pretty special place. I actually think the real world could learn a lot by coming into a clubhouse."

Not only did he decline an invitation to the WBC, but he has embraced the winning environment and developed relationships with player such as Francisco Lindor and Carlos Santana.

"I'm very excited," said Encarnacion. "I can't wait to start a season and come back to Cleveland and play some baseball."

John Alfes has covered the Indians for IBI since August of 2016. Follow him on Twitter @JohnAlfes for breaking news and in-depth coverage all season long.


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