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05/29/08 12:54 AM ET

Giambi to rock Metrodome with 'stache

New York (26-27) at Minnesota (28-25), Friday, 8:10 p.m. ET

BALTIMORE -- Jason Giambi doesn't figure to be in the market for shaving cream anytime soon, now that a few balls have finally started to fall his way.

Giambi will take a crack at homering for the third consecutive game when the Yankees meet the Twins on Friday at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. When he digs in for the first time, he'll be sporting the facial hair growth that started life as a goof and has now become something of clubhouse superstition.

"You've got to switch it up and keep things fun on this team," Giambi said. "Unfortunately, now the 'stache has got to stay."

Giambi freely acknowledges that his mustache-and-more isn't exactly the best-tended area of the Yankees universe, and those obtaining field box seats near the first-base side might want to do away with any binoculars they brought to the ballpark.

But as long as Giambi keeps hitting -- his exploits in Baltimore brought his average to .244, up from his month-low of .150 on May 4 -- the mustache will continue to get face time in the Yankees lineup.

"We said all along that he was having great at-bats," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It just wasn't working out for him. Now, it's working out well for him and he is continuing to have great at-bats."

But there is bad news for those with good taste. The mustache craze appears to be spreading.

"Actually, I've got a few more guys in this clubhouse -- Johnny Damon and Shelley [Duncan]," Giambi said. "Joba [Chamberlain] has even got one, even though he looks like a fifth grader with his. I even tried to talk [Derek] Jeter into it."

There's little chance of that, but who knows? Giambi leads the Yankees with 11 home runs and credits a large part of his success to regular duty defensively, which has long created a sizable difference in his career splits compared to days when he serves as the designated hitter.

Life as a DH seems to agree better with Hideki Matsui -- hitting a team-high .330 -- and Giambi has played a better first base than a lot of critics thought he would or could at age 37.

"I hoped I was going to be able to do what I've been doing defensively and being out there every day," Giambi said. "It's really paid off -- a lot of the running I did during Spring Training and even the offseason. Joe's done a good job of working a rotation to get us all in there and keep us healthy."

Pitching matchup
NYY: RHP Mike Mussina (7-4, 4.39 ERA)
Pitching against the Mariners last Saturday afternoon, Mussina erased some of the ugliness of his previous start -- but not all of it. He gave up four runs in five innings, leaving after 74 pitches in part due to ineffectiveness, but mostly due to the Yankees' plan to use Joba Chamberlain for 45 pitches worth of relief. Still, it was an improvement from his previous start, in which Mussina could not escape the first inning. His next start comes in Minnesota, where he is 10-5 with a 3.42 ERA for his career.

MIN: LHP Glen Perkins (2-1, 2.77 ERA)
Perkins was outstanding in his last outing, a 6-1 win over the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on May 25. He only allowed a run, on Carlos Guillen's home run, and seven hits in 7 2/3 innings. He walked two and struck out four. He established the inside half of the plate and then moved the ball in and out using his curve and changeup to keep the Tigers off balance.

Jeter played in his 1,882nd game on Wednesday, moving past Roy White into sole possession of sixth place on the Yankees' all-time hits list. ... Giambi has 182 home runs as a Yankee, one more than he hit as a member of the Oakland A's. ... Mussina has 20 career victories vs. Minnesota, tied with Chicago's Mark Buerhle for the most among active pitchers. He has lost his last four decisions vs. Minnesota. ... Edwar Ramirez has not allowed a run in 20 combined relief appearances between New York and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this season, spanning 23 innings.

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Up next
• Saturday: Yankees (Chien-Ming Wang, 6-2, 3.82) at Twins (Boof Bonser, 2-6, 6.16), 7:10 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Yankees (Darrell Rasner, 3-1, 1.80) at Twins (Nick Blackburn, 4-3, 3.39), 2:10 p.m. ET
• Monday: Yankees (TBD) at Twins (TBD), 7:05 p.m. ET

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.