Dodgers buy Jay Gibbons' contract
LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers purchased the contract of left-handed-hitting outfielder Jay Gibbons from Triple-A Albuquerque and designated left-handed-hitting outfielder Garret Anderson for assignment before Sunday's game with the Washington Nationals.
Anderson, a three-time All-Star in 15 seasons with the Angels, was hitting just .181 in his only season with the Dodgers, who now have 10 days to either trade him, release him or outright him to the minors if he is willing to accept an assignment. But first, he must clear waivers.
Anderson played his first 2,013 games with the Angels -- he spent last season with Atlanta after Los Angeles chose not to re-sign him -- and holds their franchise records in every major offensive category except home runs. He had the biggest hit in Angels history, a tiebreaking three-run double in game 7 of the 2002 World Series against San Francisco, and was the MVP of the 2003 All-Star game as well as the Home Run Derby champ that year.
"Gibbons probably all year long has been this guy producing down there, and Garret has been inconsistent here," manager Joe Torre said. "As tough as this was to do for me, because of how I respect this guy's career and respect him as a person, we just felt we wanted to try something different. He took it obviously with a great deal of class. He said: 'Thanks for the opportunity,' and with that just slid away. I just wished him well."
Gibbons will replace Anderson as the primary left-handed pinch hitter, a role in which Anderson was 12 for 50 (.240).
Gibbons, 33, was hitting .347 with 19 homers, 83 RBIs and a .375 on-base percentage for the Isotopes. The Dodgers signed him last winter to a minor league contract that didn't include an invitation to big league spring training.
After he was named in the 2007 Mitchell report on performance-enhancing drugs, Gibbons was released by the Baltimore Orioles the following spring after he performed poorly in spring training.
Gibbons, who played seven seasons for the Orioles, hasn't been back to the majors since then. He spent all of last season in the independent Atlantic League after playing most of 2008 in the minor league system of the Milwaukee Brewers.
"I was sitting at home in Thousand Oaks [Calif.] watching the Dodgers, so it's kind of surreal to be here now," said Gibbons, who had season tickets to the Dodgers when he was in high school, before he drove in a run as a pinch hitter in Los Angeles' 8-3 win Sunday. "I'm just very grateful that the Dodgers gave me an opportunity to show I can play again.
"I'd been to independent ball a couple of times and winter ball a couple of times, and I just felt energized when I playing winter ball this offseason," he added. "And when the Dodgers signed me, I just felt like I had nothing to lose. I was having a great time in Albuquerque, making the best of the situation and hoping this day would come."
Gibbons has a career major league average of .260 with 121 homers with 405 RBI in 779 games.
Gibbons was the designated hitter on Saturday night for Albuquerque when manager Tim Wallach pulled him out of the game after his second plate appearance. But the game lasted about five hours, and he sat up in the clubhouse while his teammates turned a 12-0 deficit into a 13-12 extra-inning win.
"I got some hints during the next four hours of the game that something might happen," Gibbons said. "There was some scuffling going on between the two teams, and they just told me to stay out of it and go up to the clubhouse so that I wouldn't get hurt. And when they told me that, I said to myself: 'Why wouldn't I go out and defend my team?' So I kind of got the hint there.
"Then after the game, Wallach told me I was going up. I gave him a hug and that was it. I called my dad this morning and he was on Cloud 9. He'll be here today."
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.