You may be only vaguely familiar with the name (unless you’re a die-hard Orioles fan), but Jay Gibbons certainly made a loud introduction for the Dodgers and their fans on Tuesday by going 3-4 with a HR in his first major league start since 2007.
Gibbons is 33 years old and was actually preparing the last couple of years to become a college coach, but a return to health and fresh outlook on the game has allowed him to earn his way back up the minor league ladder and earn a spot on the varsity.
Gibbons had an extremely productive year at triple-A in 2010, posting a .347 batting average and .970 OPS in 390 ABs while striking out a measly 30 times. He earned his call-up and singled as a pinch-hitter in his first at bat as a Dodger, paving the way for his Tuesday start in lieu of struggling center fielder Matt Kemp. The complete lack of production from now-released OF Garret Anderson (the man who lost his job to Gibbons) all season makes one wonder why Jay didn’t get a shot earlier, but better late than never.
While that Manny character appears to be a ways away from returning to the team, Gibbons has a chance to settle in as a valuable player off the bench and potentially more if Matt Kemp continues to flounder.
The Dodgers haven’t exactly struck gold when it comes to finding under-the-radar offense, so Gibbons’ rebirth is a welcome sign and a turn in the right direction towards the postseason.