Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Gibbons, named in Mitchell report, signs with Brewers
ESPN.com news services
Jay Gibbons is getting his second chance.
The former Baltimore Orioles outfielder, who was named in the Mitchell report on performance-enhancing drugs and for months sought a chance to redeem himself, has signed a minor league deal with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Unable to find a job six weeks after his release, Gibbons, in a letter to all 30 Major League Baseball teams, acknowledged he had made a mistake. He offered to donate his minor league salary to charity if a major league team gave him a minor league deal.
The 31-year-old Gibbons was released by the Orioles in March after he batted .189 with no home runs and four RBIs in 16 games in spring training. He played in only 84 games last season because of surgery on his left shoulder.
Now, Gibbons, 31, is expected to spend the next 10 to 14 days at Double-A Huntsville before being promoted to Triple-A Nashville, if all goes according to plan. He had been playing with the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League.
"He's a little rusty, self-admittedly rusty," Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash said according to MLB.com. "The idea is to get him some minor league at-bats and then evaluate as we go along."
Ash was the Blue Jays' GM when that team drafted Gibbons in the 14th round in 1998. The Orioles acquired him in the 2000 Rule 5 draft.
"They sat down and basically interviewed him," Brewers GM Doug Melvin said, according to MLB.com. "Gord is familiar with him from Toronto, and [Gibbons] wants to get back and playing. I don't know exactly what his [off-the-field] issues were, but they were not enough to not give a guy a second chance. He's always been a good guy with a good work ethic."
Gibbons was suspended for 15 days on Dec. 6 by commissioner Bud Selig following a media report that he received a shipment of human growth hormone after January 2005, when it was banned by baseball. The suspension was rescinded in April as part of an agreement between players and owners to toughen their anti-drug program with more frequent testing and increased authority for the program's outside administrator.
At the time, club president Andy MacPhail called Gibbons' release a "baseball decision." The move left Baltimore owing Gibbons $11.9 million for the last two seasons of a $21.1 million, four-year contract he agreed to in January 2006.
Gibbons joined Long Island in June and played in 27 games, batting .280 with five home runs and 19 RBIs.
"We're excited for Jay," Ducks principal owner Frank Boulton said. "We are glad he's received this opportunity in the Atlantic League. We wish him the best of luck and continued success."
After batting .277 in both 2005 and 2006, Gibbons struggled in limited action in 2007, batting .230 with 62 hits and a .348 slugging percentage.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.