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Gibbons seeks help for vision problem

BASEBALL : DODGERS SPRING REPORT

Outfielder is having issues with contact lenses and is leaving camp for two days in an effort to find a solution.

March 15, 2011|Jim Peltz

SURPRISE, ARIZ. — Jay Gibbons is struggling to keep his eyes on the prize.

A leading contender for at least a part-time role as the Dodgers' left fielder, Gibbons is leaving spring training for two days because of ill-fitting contact lenses.

The lens for his left eye is "not fitting great right now and every once in a while it pops out at inconvenient times, like maybe [while] hitting," Gibbons said Monday, adding that he planned to see an eye doctor in San Francisco on Tuesday and Wednesday.

"We're going to try to find a better solution," he said. "I'm worried enough to leave camp. I really didn't want this to happen like this. Hopefully, by Thursday this is a non-issue."

The left-handed-batting Gibbons, 34, is expected to platoon in left field with another recent Dodgers acquisition, Marcus Thames. But it has been a rough spring for Gibbons: He was sick earlier in camp and batting only .091 (two for 22) when his contact lens problem surfaced.

"We need to get that resolved with him," Manager Don Mattingly said of Gibbons' eyes. "If you don't have your depth perception right on, trying to hit a breaking ball just doesn't work."

Gibbons has a history of vision issues. He had laser eye surgery in 2004, has worn prescription sunglasses at times and had a "touch-up" surgical eye procedure in October.

"We can't find a pair of glass that will work," he said. "I don't like wearing glasses. So we have to get this contact thing figured out."

But Gibbons declined to blame his spring slump on his vision problems.

"I don't want to put [the slump] on that," he said. "I've seen well enough to get more than two hits."

Other setbacks

Gibbons' troubles added to a list of health concerns for the Dodgers.

Third baseman Casey Blake, 37, was scheduled to get an MRI exam Monday after he suffered an apparent muscle strain behind his right ribcage Saturday and was listed as day to day. Infielder Juan Uribe, 31, has complained of unspecified tightness in his body in recent days, Mattingly said.

Uribe left the Dodgers' split-squad game against the Chicago Cubs in Las Vegas on Sunday after playing three innings at second base and batting twice. The Dodgers signed Uribe in the off-season partly so he could occasionally play third base when Blake is resting.

Uribe "seemed OK but . . . with Casey having a little thing going on, the last thing I need is for Juan to have any issues," Mattingly said. "I'm more concerned with him feeling better before we extend him. We'll try to extend everybody to seven [innings] tomorrow; I don't know if Juan will get there."

Roster trims

The Dodgers optioned right-handed pitcher Carlos Monasterios to minor league camp and reassigned Wilkin De La Rosa, Dee Gordon, John Lindsey, Trayvon Robinson, Javy Guerra, Jamie Hoffmann and Damaso Espino to minor league camp.

Monasterios, 24, appeared in 32 games for the Dodgers last season, including 13 starts, and was 3-5 with a 4.38 earned-run average.

"His stuff's been getting better," Mattingly said. "There's a lot of little things that we want Monty to keep working on" such as his fielding, controlling runners and "basically handling himself out on the mound."

Earthquake relief

Dodger Stadium is holding a drive to raise money for Japanese earthquake and tsunami relief efforts Tuesday from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Parking Lot 1.

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james.peltz@latimes.com

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