Bobby Alejo, who left his job as the Athletics’ strength coach to join Giambi in New York after the 2001 season, is taking a job as the head strength coach for all 18 sports at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He ended his final trip with the Yankees on Sunday, and he starts his new job Sept. 1.
“He’s great to me; he’s one of my best friends,” said Giambi (above, right), who added that he did not know if he would seek a new trainer. “It’s definitely going to be difficult. But I have to finish the season and worry about that at the end.”
Alejo’s presence had long been a point of contention between Giambi and the Yankees. Giambi signed with the understanding that Alejo would have full access to help him at the ballpark before and after games, supervising his weight training and batting practice.
But when Major League Baseball imposed stricter rules on clubhouse access in 2002, the Yankees had to hire Alejo as a batting-practice pitcher, even though Giambi still paid him, so that Alejo would have full access.
Gradually, Alejo’s access dwindled to team flights only, and Giambi has had to change his routine, working out away from the park before games instead of immediately after them.
Despite being 4 games behind Boston in the AL East pennant chase, the Yankees can take solace in knowing they can count on the intimidating presence of Randy Johnson down the stretch.