Jay Gibbons has earned opportunity at a repeat performance
Playing so well, he’ll be around again next season?
Could be. At this point, probably should be.
Jay Gibbons’ travels from seven-year major leaguer, to disgraced user of performance-enhancing drugs, back to bouncing around the minors for three seasons, to finally getting another chance with the Dodgers, has been well chronicled.
It’s what he’s done with his opportunity that’s now notable: In 43 at-bats, he’s hitting .349 with five home runs and 15 runs batted in.
If he had the same number of at-bats (155) as man he replaced as the Dodgers’ left-handed pinch-hitter, Garret Anderson, his numbers would project to 18 home runs and 54 RBIs. Anderson exited batting .181 with two home runs and 12 RBIs.
With Manny Ramirez waived, the Dodgers will be in need of a regular left fielder next season. The candidates? Every breathing outfielder. Particularly the inexpensive ones.
Which Gibbons will be. Although he should certainly listen to all offers, the Dodgers figure to have an edge, being the team that gave him another chance and his hometown team (he went to Mayfair High in Lakewood and Cal State Los Angeles).
The Dodgers have to determine if they want him back as a left-handed pinch-hitter, a platoon starter in left or as a regular left fielder.
The latter is the least likely. He’s 33, and defensively, not exactly Gold Glove material.
Still, there should be a role for him. For now, at least, he should start Wednesday against right-hander Matt Cain. Yet despite being left-handed, he’s hit righties and lefties about the same.
Sunday he hit a three-run homer into the upper deck, and Friday he hit a two-run homer.
"Right now, I’m seeing a player that gives you reason to look to him for more,’’ said Manager Joe Torre.
Scott Podsednik, who has been the Dodgers' regular left fielder since being acquired from the Royals on July 28, missed the last three games with inflammation in his left foot. Torre said he should be available when the Dodgers open their three-game series Tuesday in San Francisco.
"But with what Gibby has shown us, he certainly deserves more time out there and he'll probably get it,’’ Torre said.
And deserves an offer for next season.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Jay Gibbons connects for a three-run home run against the Giants on Sept. 4. Credit: Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times