Jay Gibbons is hoping his career isn't over — again.
Three years ago the former Baltimore Orioles slugger was named in the steroids-related Mitchell Report and was released by the team before the season.
Gibbons admitted steroid use and apologized. Still, no major league team wanted him until the Los Angeles Dodgers gave him a shot at redemption last year.
Gibbons impressed a Dodger scout at a baseball tryout in Venezuela and was signed to a minor league contract.
The Dodgers assigned Gibbons to their Triple-A club in Albuquerque where he hit .347 with 19 home runs before calling him up in August. With the Dodgers, Gibbons hit five home runs and 17 RBIs in just 75 at bats.
Gibbons played so well he was projected as a starter in the Dodgers outfield entering this season.
However, vision problems forced the career .260 hitter with 126 career home runs to start the 2011 campaign in Albuquerque.
Gibbons said following Saturday's game against the RedHawks that he wasn't sure when he could return to the Dodgers. He is scheduled to finish his rehabilitation assignment with the Isotopes on April 26.
“If I tell them my vision is good and I can string together a few games, I'm back,” Gibbons said. “But there is no reason to go back if I am not able to hit pitching down here.”
Gibbons, 34, was hitless in the first two games of the Isotopes' series against the Oklahoma City RedHawks on Friday and Saturday.
He was out of the lineup Monday night because he left to get another evaluation about his vision. Gibbons already has seen “four or five” specialists, he said.
“We've had plenty of opinions,” he said.
His vision problems began over the winter when he had an eye procedure done to correct a 2004 laser surgery.
“I had a touch-up this offseason because my vision was a little off last year,” he said. “It didn't go very well. They overcorrected me.”
Gibbons wore glasses last year. He had the corrective procedure to keep from wearing glasses this season.
“I went through all the pros and cons, and I was told the worst case scenario is you are just wearing glasses again,” he said. “Unfortunately, I am not able to wear glasses (now) because he overcorrected me so much. So we are trying contacts now. ”
The contacts haven't improved his eyesight.
“If it's not blurriness, it's depth (perception) issues,” he said. “Lately, it's been blurriness. In spring training I was having problems with depth and just picking up any kind of spin.
“We are just having trouble finding the right combination. If it's clear, I can't see depth. But if it's blurry, I can. So it's just been a really bizarre situation.”
Gibbons had just four hits in 38 at bats in spring training with the Dodgers. He is batting .250 (6 for 24) in seven games this season for Albuquerque.
“The big problem right now is just getting the contacts to work. We've tried several different combinations of 'em and different prescriptions,” he said. “Now my eyes are flat from the surgery, and the contacts have trouble staying in. It's just an overall mess.”
Another surgery would be the last option, he said.
A frustrated Gibbons admitted at times wondering if his eyesight will ever be good enough again to hit major league pitching.
“I've been dealing with this since December, and here we are in April,” Gibbons said. “It's always in the back of your mind, ‘Is this ever going to come back?' It's definitely crossed my mind.”