Selig chooses not to discipline Giambi
'Appropriate decision' based on veteran's charitable endeavors
TORONTO -- Yankees slugger Jason Giambi won't face any disciplinary actions from Major League Baseball for his comments about his own use of performance-enhancing drugs, which received wide circulation in May, Commissioner Bud Selig said Thursday.The decision comes a little more than a month after Giambi met with former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell and members of his law firm, DLA Piper, which has been investigating MLB's so-called steroids era for the past 17 months. Selig had demanded that Giambi meet with Mitchell before determining whether there should be any action. "There's more to it than that," Selig told reporters after Thursday morning's owners meetings broke without a vote on any items. "He's doing a lot of public service work. He was forthright with Senator Mitchell -- at least that was Senator Mitchell's conclusion. I think with all the off-field charitable activities he's doing, this will do more good. Given everything, this is an appropriate decision." Selig said that Giambi, who is earning $20 million this season, intends to donate $50,000 to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and make an additional $50,000 contribution in cash or equipment to the Harlem chapter of the RBI program. In addition, Giambi has agreed to make an appearance this offseason at MLB's Youth Academy in Compton, Calif. "I'm happy with it," Giambi said in New York before the Yankees started a four-game series with the Tigers. "Now I can move forward and not hurt the ballclub by taking a suspension or anything like that."
On Aug. 7, Giambi was reinstated by the Yankees from the disabled list after a left foot injury kept him from playing since May 30. Giambi is currently batting .270 with nine home runs and 26 RBIs in 51 games.Giambi has one guaranteed year remaining on the seven-year, $120 million free-agent contract he signed prior to the 2002 season. Because the deal was back-loaded, he is owed $21 million for next season and at least a $5 million buyout for 2009. Yankees officials, here for the meetings, were not aware of the Commissioner's decision until they were told about it by reporters. After reading a press release, Yankees president Randy Levine said that the club was fully supportive of Selig's decision. "The Commissioner took the action and he's the person empowered with doing this, and we support his decision," Levine said. "And it's clearly appropriate," added Lonn Trost, the club's chief operating officer. Giambi, after essentially publicly admitting his use of performance-enhancing drugs, was the first active player to meet with the committee that was established last year to investigate who did what and when during MLB's steroids era. Selig said on Thursday that Giambi's situation was special and he didn't plan to intervene in any others as far as the players are concerned. "Senator Mitchell does that," Selig said. "This was a special circumstance. I have no other plans to do anything." Officials from MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association reached a compromise regarding the context under which Giambi would speak about his past use of performance-enhancing drugs before he met with Mitchell's committee. Giambi didn't have to talk about other players. In addition, there was no transcript or recording of the meeting. On June 6, Selig gave Giambi a two-week deadline to make a decision about meeting with Mitchell and then reportedly threatened to suspend him if he did not comply. The fact that Giambi agreed to a meeting was a breakthrough for the committee. During his investigation, Mitchell has had little cooperation from either the Players Association or the individual current players, who previously have all declined to meet with his group. Mitchell was charged with investigating and submitting a report to MLB about the steroids issue in March 2006. This year, he has been negotiating with the Players Association to obtain medical documents and player interviews, but up until now, those efforts have been unsuccessful. His committee doesn't have the authority to subpoena documents or compel testimony. Four years ago, Giambi was among a number of athletes who appeared before a grand jury investigating the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative for money laundering and the illicit sale of performance-enhancing drugs. In his testimony, illegally leaked to the San Francisco Chronicle, Giambi admitted that he had used steroids, although the full text of that testimony has never been released. Giambi came under pressure this season following the May 18 publication of statements he made to USA Today in which he vaguely talked about his drug use, saying he shouldn't have used "that stuff." He also chastised MLB by saying: "What we should have done a long time ago was stand up -- players, ownership, everybody -- and said, 'We made a mistake.' We should have apologized back then and made sure we had a rule in place and gone forward."