Giambi to serve as Indians guest instructor

Giambi to serve as Indians guest instructor

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Jason Giambi was an instrumental leader within the Indians' clubhouse during the team's run to the playoffs three years ago. Now retired, the former slugger will offer an experienced voice as a guest instructor with Cleveland this spring.

On Tuesday, the Indians announced that Giambi will be in camp as an instructor for four days, beginning on Monday. The team will leave the door open for Giambi to return again later in camp to fill the same role. Cleveland's first full-squad workout is scheduled for Feb. 23.

"In '13 especially, he was a huge part of this team on the field and off the field," Indians catcher Yan Gomes said. "Having a guy like him who's been through some serious ups and downs, and has a ton of experience, it kind of eases things for a lot of the younger guys, even guys who have been around for a few years."

Giambi, 45, suited up for the Indians in 2013-14 as a pinch-hitter and part-time designated hitter, marking the final two seasons in his 20-year Major League career. Behind the scenes, though, he was also like an extra coach, providing leadership and advice for a team that had a relatively young core at the time.

Giambi's walk-off homer

During the 2013 campaign, the Indians won their final 10 games, finished with 92 victories and captured the American League's top Wild Card spot. In the midst of that season-ending winning streak, Giambi belted one of the most memorable home runs in recent history for the Indians. His game-winning blast against the White Sox on Sept. 24 that season made him the oldest player to launch a walk-off home run.

That summer, Giambi and Gomes, along with former Indians utility men Ryan Raburn and Mike Aviles, became known as the "Goon Squad." They made up Cleveland's bench at the time, but were an important cast for the club in its journey to the playoffs.

"If he wasn't here, that whole 'Goon Squad' thing would've never happened," Gomes said of Giambi. "The 'Goon Squad' thing became a big deal that year. What I learned from him was, even if you're not an everyday player, or even when you are, what's expected out of you day in and day out. It kind of builds on your way of taking a hold of your own career.

"He taught us how to come in ready, no matter your role. It was, everybody on this team has a part in us going forward."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.