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Around and around they go, until the left-field start lands back on Jay Gibbons

May 16, 2011 |  6:21 pm

Dodgers2_300 And Monday’s starting left fielder is -- Jay Gibbons, who after all, was supposed to be the main guy out there back when the Dodgers were in their off-season war room. Those must have been some exciting times.

"We’ll see what he looks like," said Manager Don Mattingly.

Assuming, of course, he can see.

The original master plan was for Gibbons to start against right-handers, and for Marcus Thames to start against lefties.

Trouble was, an off-season eye procedure that was supposed to help Gibbons with his vision made it worse, and he spent the bulk of two months trying to figure out which contact lenses would work and fit.

That messed up Gibbons’ spring and he started his season on the disabled list. Meanwhile, Thames went on the DL and Tony Gwynn Jr. saw some playing time.

Hurting even more in left than they anticipated -- and they should have anticipated plenty -- they got desperate and called up highly regarded prospect Jerry Sands a year earlier than they wanted.

Sands hasn’t looked awful, but hasn’t exactly seized the opportunity (.194, no homers, 9 RBI in 72 at-bats).

Which on Monday brought the Dodgers back to where they were supposed to start, Gibbons.

"I’m trying to find some production out there," Mattingly said.

While playing sparingly, Gibbons has struggled just like all the rest of the left-field candidates (.083). Monday marked only his third start since being activated May 3.

"I worked hard to gt back and felt like I could do the job," Gibbons said. "Not it’s just a matter of going out and doing it. We’ll see what happens."

There’s that seeing thing again, which Gibbons believes is now behind him. Not that he’s had enough major-league at-bats (12) to be sure. Just Sunday, Mattingly said he wasn’t "100% satisfied he’s really seeing the ball good."

On Monday, however, Gibbons was his starter. Just the way it was originally planned.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dodgers left fielder Jay Gibbons returns to the dugout after striking out against Brewers starter Shaun Marcum with two men on in the seventh inning Monday night at Dodger Stadium. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

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