Morning briefing

Times Staff Writer

It's a thong story for Giambi

Baseball players are notorious for finding quirky ways to break slumps and Jason Giambi of the New York Yankees is no exception.

Giambi told Conde Nast Portfolio magazine that he wears a gold lame tiger-striped thong under his uniform when he's in a funk at the plate.

"I only put it on when I'm desperate to get out of a big slump," he said.

He then added that he's not afraid to share the wealth. He has left the golden thong in the lockers of Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Johnny Damon, Robin Ventura and Robinson Cano during various slumps.

"All of them wore it and got hits," Giambi said. "The thong works every time."

Trivia time

Four years ago today, Randy Johnson pitched a perfect game, becoming, at 40, the oldest pitcher in the modern era to accomplish the feat. Whose record did he break?

Short and sweet

As Manny Ramirez approaches the 500-home run mark, the Boston Red Sox are putting together a series of videotaped congratulatory messages to be played at Fenway Park when Ramirez reaches the milestone.

Among those asked to tape a message was Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees, himself a member of the 500-home run club.

According to the New York Daily News, the Yankees had reservations about Rodriguez doing the message for a member of the rival Red Sox, but he did it anyway.

His message?

"Manny, I'm going to keep this short because I'm probably getting booed. Congratulations and many more."

Carrying a load

Jevon Kearse is back with the Tennessee Titans, and just like last time he has something to prove.

The Philadelphia Eagles cut the defensive end after he registered only four sacks last season while recovering from 2006 knee surgery.

The Titans drafted Kearse in 1999, when he was considered a risky pick because he was smaller than most defensive ends, but he went on to win defensive rookie of the year and make two Pro Bowls.

"Back in '99, I had a chip on my shoulder," Kearse said. "Ten years later, that chip turned into a boulder, so now I've got a boulder on my shoulder."

No Bull

Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Tribune wrote that the Chicago Bulls might want to consider signing Gloria James, who nearly became involved in an on-court fracas involving her son LeBron during the Cleveland Cavaliers' series against the Boston Celtics.

"If you didn't see it, think of a terrier attempting to attach itself to the leg of a mailman," Morrissey wrote. "She looked like she had more heart than [the Bulls'] entire roster. All right, that's not fair. Maybe half the roster."

What's in a name?

Celebrities have taken some flak for picking strange baby names such as Apple (Gwyneth Paltrow), Moon Unit (Frank Zappa) and Blue Angel (U2's the Edge), but sports fans can get a little wacky too.

Among the sports-related names found in census reports, according to the book "Bad Baby Names":

Bowling Lane

Hockey Starr

Cricket Fields

Goal King

Polo Trotter

Trivia answer

Cy Young, who was 37 when he pitched a perfect game on May 5, 1904.

And finally

Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins was activated from the disabled list last week but spent three days in the minors on a rehab assignment.

While there, he was somewhat of a celebrity, though one player in the Yankees' organization wasn't so impressed.

"One catcher didn't know who I was," Rollins said. "He said, 'They let you wear Rollins' jersey?' I said, 'Yeah, they say I look like him.' "


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