From the Associated Press :

TAMPA, Fla. – A former minor-league teammate of Jason Giambi said in a to-be-released issue of GQ that Giambi felt pressure from the Athletics to become a home-run hitter.

Terance Frazier, described as Giambi’s closest friend and confidant at Class A Modesto, Calif., told the magazine: “He was getting pressure from the organization. He said they were telling him he needed to hit home runs. He was getting frustrated.”

According to a San Francisco Chronicle story late last year, Giambi admitted to a federal grand jury investigating BALCO that he used performance-enhancing steroids and human growth hormone for at least three seasons. Giambi refuses to answer direct questions about his steroid use, but he says he told the truth to the grand jury.

Sandy Alderson, who was the Oakland general manager at the time, could not be reached for comment.

And of course, Giambi’s experience was unique to young players stationed at what is generally considered to be a power position (unless you’re Jason Philips or Dave Magadan) — no other first baseman in the history of minor or major league baseball has been told that he needs to hit more home runs. In light of this staggering revelation, Giambi’s drug indiscretions are not only excuseable, but I hope he considers suing the A’s, Major League Baseball and the China Club, all for contributing to a hostile work environment.