Jay Gibbons to have eye checked

Updated: March 14, 2011, 4:45 PM ET
By Tony Jackson | ESPNLosAngeles.com

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Jay Gibbons plans to leave spring training Tuesday to travel to San Francisco for a consultation with an eye doctor to solve a problem he has been having with a contact lens repeatedly popping out of his left eye during games.

Gibbons underwent PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) surgery on the eye last fall as a follow-up procedure to the laser procedure he underwent in 2004. But a side effect of PRK is that it lengthens and flattens the cornea, which is why the contact -- which Gibbons wasn't sure he would need again after the original surgery -- no longer fits as tightly as it should and tends to pop out.

Gibbons said he was told he'd likely need a follow-up procedure after his initial laser surgery. "So that was pretty much what my thought process was, to get a tune-up, and [the vision] went south a little bit last year," he said.

The issues after the follow-up surgery, though, began almost immediately, causing Gibbons to return home from winter ball earlier than he planned. Gibbons and Dodgers manager Don Mattingly sounded optimistic this doctor's consultation would be sufficient to solve the problem. The Dodgers are off Wednesday, so the hope was Gibbons would miss only one day.

"We need to get this resolved," Mattingly said. "If your [vision] isn't right on and you're trying to hit a breaking ball, it's just not going to work." Gibbons stopped short of saying his benign offensive output this spring -- he has two hits and one walk in 23 plate appearances -- is because of vision problems.

"I don't feel horrible at the plate," he said. "I don't know if that is part of it or not, because I feel OK. ... I have actually hit some balls hard. It's about having good at-bats and hitting the ball hard. [Defensively], it's about seeing the ball, too, and being able to track it."

Gibbons is in an odd position this spring. The assumption is that he is a lock for the Opening Day roster, but the Dodgers signed him to an unusual contract that is essentially a one-year, $650,000 deal but guarantees him only $400,000 until he is on the active roster when the season begins. That leaves the door open for the Dodgers to release him if they feel they have better options.

Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.

Tony Jackson

ESPNLosAngeles.com

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