So Long Garret, Welcome Jay!
The Garret Anderson era for the Los Angeles Dodgers is over. The Dodgers designated Anderson for assignment and brought up outfielder and first baseman Jay Gibbons from Class-AAA Albuquerque.
“It was time to make a move,” general manager Ned Colletti said. “We wanted to give him every opportunity.”
Anderson was hitting .181 in 80 games and 163 plate appearances mostly as a pinch hitter off the bench.
The sentiment of change was echoed by manager Joe Torre.
“Garret has been inconsistent up here,” Torre said. “As tough as this was for me, we felt like we wanted to try something different.”
Gibbons has been hitting .347 with the Albuquerque Isotopes with 19 homers, a .375 on-base percentage and a .594 slugging percentage.
“Gibbons all year long has been the guy producing down there,” Torre said. “He has been consistent all year long. He’s going to be a bench guy. You’ll see more double switching with him.”
And so ends right fielder Andre Ethier’s stint as a first baseman for the season.
Gibbons, who went to Mayfair High School in Lakewood and Cal State LA, was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays and came up with the Baltimore Orioles in 2001. He played with the Orioles until the 2007 season where he had a batting average of .260 and slugged 121 homers. By opening day in 2008 he was cut by the Orioles.
“I had a great time there for seven years,” Gibbons said. “I hold no animosity and just appreciate everything they did for me.”
One of the factors that could have led to his release with the Orioles who owed him $12 million for the last two years of his contract was his name surfacing on the Mitchell Report on December 13, 2007 for using anabolic steroids. But the Dodgers looked past it when they signed him to a minor league contract prior to the start of the season.
“Forgiveness is part of the fabric of this country,” Colletti said.
“I’m just grateful that the Dodgers gave me an opportunity to show that I could play again,” Gibbons said. ““This is my first time back. It’s been an interesting journey since.”
Part of the journey for Gibbons was actually retiring last season. He and his wife Laura had twin boys and a baby girl since his time with Baltimore that kept him busy.
“I retired last year. I was sitting at home in Thousand Oaks watching the Dodgers, so it’s kind of surreal to be here now.”
Shortstop Rafael Furcal is continuing to workout his strained lower back and is hopeful to return to the field on Tuesday in Philadelphia. Ronald Belisario, who was placed on the restricted list for personal reasons, will make his second appearance in two days at Class-A Inland Empire today. The Dodgers are also hoping he returns to the team in Philadelphia. As for left fielder Manny Ramirez, the MRI he was supposed to have a couple of days ago never happened and hasn’t been rescheduled. “We’re hoping the calf pain goes away at some point,” Torre said.