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Addition By Subtraction

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The last couple of weeks have seen the Yankees of late perform like the Yankees of old. The offense is clicking like it hasn't all season. What's changed? What's different? NY Newsday's Wallace Matthews attributes this resurgence to the absence of Jason Giambi.

Call it coincidence or call it karma, but the Yankees, who were a far better team before Giambi's arrival in December 2001, are a measurably better team since his departure from the active roster 10 days ago.

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Without the drag of Giambi, the Yankees' lineup is rolling again. In the 10 games Giambi has missed, Abreu has hit .500 (19-for-38) and raised his average 44 points to .272. In the same period, Melky Cabrera is hitting .378, A-Rod .371 with five homers and 18 RBIs, Jorge Posada .364, Robinson Cano .293, Miguel Cairo .292 and Hideki Matsui .282.

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The absence of Giambi has allowed Johnny Damon to DH, a role he likes, and get his legs healthy while Cabrera, a defensive upgrade over Damon, plays centerfield. And because of the regular at-bats, Cabrera has become the Melky of 2006.
Jason Giambi's presence in the lineup provides pop and intimidation, but it comes at the cost of speed and defense. The lineup now is much younger, quicker, and more versatile without the Giambino. It's a tough call as to what to do when he recovers. This ain't the leaner, meaner Giambi from his Oakland days. He's no longer hitting over .300 and can't hit to opposite field to save his life. The team is developing into a more cohesive unit rather than a collection of bashers.

Scoring from second on a single or beating out a double really counts for something and the Yanks are doing more of the little things without Giambi around. To crib the old commercial, without him in the lineup, they have to score runs the old fashioned way, by earning them.