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Giambi says he's sorry

Jason Giambi said he was sorry five times. He apologized three times.

To the New York Yankees. To his teammates. To the fans.

But he never said why. And he never talked about using steroids, never mentioned the word.

Giambi came to Yankee Stadium yesterday to make his first public comments since it was reported in December that he'd told a federal grand jury in 2003 that he took steroids for at least three seasons.

"When I went into that grand jury, I told the truth," he said.

But that's about as far as he went, despite repeated prodding.

"I know the fans might want more, but at this present time, because of all the legal matters, I can't get into specifics," he said. "Someday, hopefully, I will be able to."

Said his agent, Arn Tellem: "The answers are there if you look for them."

On this day, though, Giambi wasn't telling all.

"There's been a lot of distraction, definitely, over the last year, and I'm sorry for that, I really am," Giambi said. "I feel I let down the fans, I feel I let down the media, I feel I let down the Yankees, not only the Yankees, but my teammates.

"I accept full responsibility for that," he went on. "I'm sorry, but I'm trying to go forward now. Most of all, to the fans, I'm sorry. I know it's going to be hard, and I understand how they feel."

Only 10 days before he's scheduled to report to spring training, Giambi met with print reporters for 43 minutes with general manager Brian Cashman, manager Joe Torre, and Tellem by his side. "If it was up to Jason, he would tell you everything," Tellem said."It takes a hell of a big man to stand up and apologize to his teammates, to New York Yankee fans, and to baseball fans everywhere, and admit he was wrong," Yankees owner George Steinbrenner said in a statement. Giambi, who last year repeatedly denied using illegal steroids, is owed $82 million from the Yankees as part of the $120 million, seven-year contract he was given before the 2002 season. Steinbrenner spoke with him by telephone a few weeks ago.

"The biggest thing that I told him was I wasn't a quitter," Giambi said. "I told him that I was ready to play, and I was going to be that player he had signed."

One of the few topics Giambi specifically addressed was Jose Canseco's book, which is being released next week. The New York Daily News reported Sunday that Canseco says in the book that he, Giambi, and Mark McGwire shot steroids together. "I find that delusional, to be honest with you. I don't even know where he would come up with anything like that," Giambi said. "I think it's kind of sad that Josie is that desperate, I think, to make a dime."

Cashman said the Yankees never discussed steroids with Giambi before they signed him.

"Today was a step, a necessary step," Cashman said. "One of many that needs to be taken."

Oswalt re-signs
Righthander Roy Oswalt and the Houston Astros avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $16.9 million contract. Oswalt, who had a hearing date next week, had asked for a raise from $3.425 million to $7.8 million and was offered $6 million by the Astros. "Roy established himself as one of the best pitchers in the game in 2004," said Astros general manager Tim Purpura. "He has been a vital part of our success on the mound for the last four years, and we look forward to his continued success in an Astros uniform." Oswalt went 20-10 with a 3.49 ERA last season . . . Yankees righthander Kevin Brown is making a charitable contribution, more than $100,000 to, most likely, the Special Forces Warrior Foundation, according to a team official, instead of getting fined for punching a wall and breaking a bone in his left hand last September.

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