Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Trainer: Jay Gibbons' eyesight 'better'
By Tony Jackson
PARADISE VALLEY, Ariz. -- Los Angeles Dodgers trainer Stan Conte said Wednesday he isn't concerned that outfielder-first baseman Jay Gibbons experienced blurred vision while playing winter ball in Venezuela.
Conte also said the fact Gibbons left his team, La Guaira, and returned to Los Angeles was merely a precaution at Conte's request.
"It's nothing,'' Conte said. "He was in winter ball for a week or two, and he started experiencing some haziness in his eyes. So he called me, and I just said we better get it checked. So he flew the 18 hours or whatever it was to get back, and now he is kind of fighting the flu, so we haven't had a chance to get it checked out yet.''
Gibbons underwent a surgical procedure on his eyes in November to slightly improve his vision -- from 20/20 to 20/15, Conte said -- after initially undergoing laser surgery several years earlier. Conte said he doesn't know why Gibbons would be experiencing blurred vision now, but that he doesn't expect it to be a problem.
"I talked to him earlier today, and he said it already is a little better,'' Conte said.
The Dodgers re-signed Gibbons after the season to a one-year deal with a $400,000 guarantee. They originally signed him to a minor league contract last winter, three years after he had last played in the majors with the Baltimore Orioles. After his name appeared in the Mitchell Report on performance-enhancing drug use in baseball -- something for which Gibbons has been contrite and apologetic -- the veteran had trouble finding a job in baseball and actually retired for a short time.
But the Dodgers purchased his contract from Triple-A Albuquerque on Aug. 8, and he went on to hit .280 with five homers and 17 RBI the rest of the season. He is expected to be the team's primary left-handed pinch hitter in 2011 and make occasional starts in left field and at first base.
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.