Jason Giambi was batting seventh and serving as the designated hitter last night for the Indians against the Yankees. But if things had worked out differently this offseason, he wouldn’t have been in a lineup at all — he would be responsible for making them.

Giambi, who spent the last four seasons with the Rockies, interviewed for their managerial position that ultimately went to Walt Weiss. Still, Giambi said it was a great opportunity and he hopes to one day get that chance.

“It was a dream come true, to have that opportunity while I was still playing the game and even to be thought of in that light is a very gracious feeling,” said Giambi, who went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and a walk in the Indians’ 4-3 loss to the Yankees Tuesday night at the Stadium. “It opened up my eyes to a whole [different situation] to be on that side of the room instead of this side of the room. It was a great learning experience.”

Giambi received an offer to be the Rockies’ hitting coach, but chose instead to sign a one-year, minor-league deal with the Indians, and did enough in spring training to make the Opening Day roster. Manager Terry Francona was thrilled to have Giambi in the lineup and in the clubhouse.

“This guy is not a veteran, he is the veteran,” Francona said before the game. “I have never been around somebody like Giambi before. Everybody talks about how good he is for the young kids. He is good for me. I’ve leaned on him, I think everybody has leaned on him.”

At 42, Giambi has shown he still has something left in the tank. He started off the season slow, but entering last night, was 5-for-9 over his last three games with a home run in each game. His performance has been an added bonus for the Indians and Francona, who value him in the locker room.

“And then when he steps in the batter’s box, he still has the ability to change the game,” Francona said. “But even when he is not in the batter’s box he can change the game. That’s a pretty special person.”