As Alex Rodriguez watches Jason Giambi swing the bat these days, there's a flashback to 2000 when Giambi played for the A's and was the American League Most Valuable Player.
Once again, Giambi is picking up hits and accolades. Following a torrid April at the plate, the Yankees first baseman was named the AL Player of the Month on Tuesday.
"He looks like he did when he was in Oakland," Rodriguez said. "The ball is just exploding off his bat, which is what we saw in the second half of last season."
Giambi hit .344 in 22 April games. He had nine homers, 27 RBIs, 17 runs scored and 52 total bases. Giambi led the American League with an .852 slugging percentage and .554 on-base percentage. A keen eye and plate discipline have been keys in Giambi's success. He finished the month with an AL-best 26 walks.
"This is the best I've felt in awhile," Giambi said recently. "My swing has been really good so far this year."
In a lineup filled with accomplished hitters, Giambi has asserted himself in a big way. New York fans got a quick preview of how Giambi's April would go during the opening home series against Kansas City. In that series, Giambi went 5-for-8 with two homers and seven RBIs as the Yankees won all three games.
Giambi had a couple of multi-homer games during the month. He went deep twice against Minnesota on April 16 and repeated that feat a week later against Tampa Bay.
Giambi now has six Player of the Month awards. But between the great times he had in Oakland and the efficiency he showed last year and this year, Giambi had to deal with health issues. A parasite in his system plagued him for parts of two seasons.
But Giambi bounced back last year to lead the AL with a .440 on-base percentage and 108 walks. He has worked long and hard with Yankees hitting coach Don Mattingly, and that commitment to re-establish himself as one of the game's best hitters is paying off.
Now, Giambi just hopes he can approach the same level of success over the next five months that he showed in April. In a lineup filled with stars, Giambi has been shining brightly.
Robert Falkoff is a reporter for MLB.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.