Teammates have tried Giambi's lucky thong to bust out of slumps

NEW YORK -- These are trying times for Jason Giambi -- apparently not even lucky underwear can help his undersized batting average.

The New York Yankees' first baseman caused a bit of a stir Saturday when the Daily News reported -- on the front page, no less -- that he often wears a gold thong under his uniform pants when trying to snap out of a slump.

"I was blown away," Yankees broadcaster and former big league pitcher David Cone said with a smile. "You've got to be pretty confident in yourself to let that one out."

Giambi, who is batting .193, has kept the shiny thong in his locker since he played for the Oakland Athletics. Several teammates acknowledged they've tried wearing it, too, including Yankees captain Derek Jeter and outfielder Johnny Damon.

Before Saturday's Subway Series game against the New York Mets, a sign on right-hander Mike Mussina's locker read: "Pitchers need thongs too."

Giambi hit his team-leading eighth homer in the Yankees' 7-4 loss, connecting on an 0-2 pitch from two-time Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana.

"Whatever works, man," Mets right fielder Ryan Church deadpanned.

Strange superstitions are nothing new in baseball. Hall of Famer Wade Boggs ate chicken before every game. Nomar Garciaparra fidgets with his batting gloves after each pitch and sidles down the dugout steps two feet at a time.

"Giambi's a little freaky," said Mets manager Willie Randolph, a former Yankees coach. "I wouldn't go there."

Church said if any of his Mets teammates have a favorite slump-buster, he doesn't know about it.

"Most guys keep it to themselves," he said.