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Giambi calls it a season

Shoulder surgery is set for Tuesday

SEATTLE -- They thought they were getting an on-base machine when they announced the deal at the winter meetings in Nashville. Eight months later, the Jeremy Giambi experiment likely ended for the Red Sox on the floor of Safeco Field last night.

Giambi has a partially torn labrum (left shoulder) and will have season-ending surgery Tuesday in California, performed by Dr. Lewis Yocum. He finished his first and probably only season in Boston with a batting average of .197 with five homers and 15 RBIs in 50 games. He managed only 127 official at-bats and his on-base percentage was .342.

Sox general manager Theo Epstein had a terrific offseason, but Giambi goes down as one transaction that did not work out.

"I'm just disappointed for Jeremy and the ball club that things didn't work out for him this year, " Epstein said last night after meeting with manager Grady Little. "He has a pretty severe injury and that probably explains a lot. He's a good hitter who had a bad year and I'm sure he'll bounce back. We weren't able to get him a lot of at-bats. It seemed like he was swinging through pitches that in previous years he had driven."

Giambi is with the Sox in Seattle and plans to return to Boston after the surgery.

"I just have to deal with it the best I can," said the 28-year-old first baseman/outfielder. "I've talked to my family, my fiancee, my doctor, and agent and came to the decision as to what is best."

Giambi is signed through the end of this season. Asked if the Sox would have interest in him for next year, Epstein answered, "We're thinking about 2003."

"That's baseball," reasoned Giambi. "In my situation you really can't expect 'em to say anything. They can't foresee next year."

Ace takes his place Pedro Martinez pitches against the Mariners today in a nationally-televised game (4 p.m., Ch. 25). Martinez has been dominant against the Mariners. Lifetime against Seattle, he is 10-0 with a 0.94 ERA. In 77 innings he's allowed 37 hits, 8 earned runs, and 19 walks with 110 strikeouts. At Safeco, his ERA is 0.68. "Maybe it's time for the tables to turn," said Seattle manager Bob Melvin. "We feel like we have a pretty good pitcher going as well [Joel Piniero, 13-7, 3.48]. I haven't been here to see Pedro pitch against us, but we'll show up tomorrow and we'll feel good. Last year when I was with Arizona we went into Fenway and we beat him." Little has yet to announce his future rotations, but the Sox are expected to manage the staff to assure that Martinez pitches against the Yankees in the two weekend series around Labor Day.

Scouts out in force After not seeing Seattle all year, the Sox play the Mariners seven times (including last night) between now and next Monday. Dave Jauss and Bill Lajoie served as advance scouts for the Sox and Stan Williams scouted Boston for Seattle.

"There'll be some excitement," said Melvin. "They're all critical series now. It almost feels like the Red Sox are in our divison now. Everyone's talking about the four teams [Boston, New York, Oakland, and Seattle] and how one is not going to make it. We don't look at it that way. Not yet"

In the other clubhouse, Little acknowledged, "It's a little strange not having seen Oakland or Seattle before now." The Sox manager had this to say about Mariners star right fielder Ichiro Suzuki: "He makes things happen. When he gets on base, it's like it's a double or a triple. That always puts pressure on a defense. We've got a lot of respect for what he can do."

Damon hamstrung Center fielder Johnny Damon left after two innings with tightness in his right hamstring and was replaced by Damian Jackson . . . Seattle's closer, Kazuhiro Sasaki, on the disabled list (cracked ribs) for more than two months, is not fully recovered yet and Shigetoshi Hasegawa is still the closer until Sasaki gets a few more innings under his belt. Hasegawa has been sensational in the role, converting his 12th save in 12 chances last night. "It's kind of the same for me," Hasegawa said of the closer's role before the game. "Except I don't have to pitch two innings now. That's easier." Naturally, Hasegawa went 1 2/3 innings last night. His strategy when facing Manny Ramirez? "Don't throw him a strike." True to his word, Hasegawa walked Ramirez in the ninth . . . Gabe Kapler got the nod over Kevin Millar in left field last night . . . Seattle starter Jamie Moyer and his wife will host a fund-raising "radiothon" tomorrow to help find a cure for cancer in children . . . Former Sox utilityman, Mike Benjamin, has a son playing for the Chandler, Ariz., team in the Little League World Series . . . Little on Scott Williamson: "He can pitch a lot and you're going to see him a lot."

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