Gibbons grateful for chance with Dodgers
Retired last year, outfielder in bigs for first time since '07
LOS ANGELES -- Retired from baseball a season ago and out of a Major League lineup since 2007, Jay Gibbons completed his comeback Sunday. The Dodgers purchased his contract from Triple-A Albuquerque, designating Garret Anderson for assignment to make room.
Gibbons, 33, will fill in Anderson's role as a left-handed pinch-hitter and outfielder. He can also play first base.
"I'm just very grateful the Dodgers gave me an opportunity to show I can play again," Gibbons said. "I retired last year. I was sitting at home in Thousand Oaks [Calif.], watching the Dodgers. So it's kind of surreal to be here now. I just couldn't give it up."
Gibbons' career was nearly ended because of the Mitchell Report, in which he admitted to using human growth hormone. He received a 15-day suspension to be served at the start of the 2008 season, but he was released by the Orioles, the only team he played for in a seven-year career, right as the 2008 season began.
Living nearby in Thousand Oaks, Gibbons had a hard time latching on anywhere and retired in 2009, with 121 career home runs and a .260 average. He and his wife, Laura, had twin boys and a baby girl to tend to. But by the time the fall came around, he knew he wanted to be back on the field, and after two months of searching, he was able to play winter ball. That led to a contract with the Dodgers in the spring.
"He's not the only name in the Mitchell Report," Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said. "How many names are in the Mitchell Report, you know? A lot of people made decisions that they have to go back and change today. Probably no different for any of us. Forgiveness is part of the fabric of this country. He came to Minor League camps, he didn't ask for any special privilege, any look-see at the big league side, 'Am I going to be able to play in the big leagues this year?' Nothing. He said, 'I made some mistakes and I want to rectify it, and I want to come out and play, and all I want to do is that.'"
Gibbons used to be a season-ticket holder to the Dodgers, sitting down the left-field line on the lower level.
He came through with a pinch-hit RBI single in the bottom of the sixth Sunday against the Nationals in the Dodgers' 8-3 win. It was his first Major League at-bat since Aug. 12, 2007, and first hit since Aug. 9, 2007.
Dodgers part ways with veteran Anderson
LOS ANGELES -- Garret Anderson had the second-lowest batting average of any player with 100 at-bats or more this season, .181, and the Dodgers on Sunday decided it was time to part ways.
The 38-year-old pinch-hitter and outfielder was designated for assignment, perhaps the end of a 17-year Major League career. Anderson hit two home runs and had 12 RBIs in 155 at-bats and 80 games. The Dodgers purchased the contract of Triple-A Albuquerque outfielder Jay Gibbons to take Anderson's place.
"Everything has its time and place," Dodgers general manager Ned Colleti said. "We just thought it was time to make a move. We respect Garret, he had a great career. Almost all of it was in this part of the country with Anahiem and the Dodgers. We wanted to give him very opportunity."
Anderson left the Dodger Stadium clubhouse before reporters arrived early Sunday morning. Colletti and manager Joe Torre said they did not know whether Anderson would retire.
Torre made sure he was at the stadium early so he could catch Anderson to deliver the news. Torre said the team made the decision on Saturday, and that it had wanted to promote Gibbons for some time.
"We just kept putting it off, putting it off, putting it off and we decided it was time to try it," Torre said. "I got here like 8:30 this morning, because I wanted to beat everybody here, get my workout in. I saw Garret in there, he was eating breakfast. I didn't want to bother him at that point, I just found a spot in the lunch room where he was the only one in there and I just went in and sat with him. It didn't take very long. Just came right out and told him that we were going to do something different and he's going to be designated. He said 'OK, thank you.'"
Anderson had never been in a reserve role before this season, a role Torre said the left-handed hitter embraced but wasn't able to contribute from.
"We just were hoping that he'd be a little bit more productive," Torre said. "He was turning it up all the way but he was just coming away a little short at this point in time."
The Dodgers have needed more productivity from their bench this season than they expected with injuries to Russell Martin, Manny Ramirez and Rafael Furcal. The bench has been shorthanded all week because of Furcal's strained back, which did not land him on the DL but has kept him out of action. The Dodgers have scored the fewest runs of any team since the All-Star break.
Torre said Anderson was close with first baseman James Loney and center fielder Matt Kemp, who sat on his right and left, respectively, in the clubhouse.
Injured LA reliever Weaver throws in 'pen
LOS ANGELES -- Jeff Weaver threw a 25-pitch bullpen session at Dodger Stadium on Sunday morning, his first since going on the disabled list with left knee tendinitis on Tuesday.
Weaver has taken anti-inflammatories but did not receive a cortisone shot for the knee, which he said has showed signs of improvement, but not consistently.
"It's back and forth," said Weaver, who turns 34 on Aug. 22. "Achy at times, not at others, but it's better than it was. Treating it and hopefully the irritation goes down."
Weaver said a potential rehab assignment was still being discussed, although he feels it may not be necessary.
"Simulated games or something like that would probably suit just fine," he said.
Belisario back to game action in rehab stint
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers reliever Ronald Belisario let up one run on one hit and one walk in one inning Saturday for Class A Inland Empire in his first game action since going on the restricted list on July 7.
The right-hander is scheduled to throw another inning Sunday evening for Inland Empire, which is on the road in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. That could lead to a potential activation Tuesday as the Dodgers begin a seven-game road trip in Philadelphia -- if Belisario's off-the-field matters are cleared first. He was put on the restricted list for personal reasons, according to the team, which were reported by the Los Angeles Times to be connected to substance abuse.
Another Tuesday return for the Dodgers, shortstop Rafael Furcal, seemed less likely Sunday than it did the day before. After saying he expected him back Tuesday, manager Joe Torre used the word hopeful on Sunday instead.
Furcal has been out since Monday, and after an MRI came back favorably, the team felt a trip to the disabled list was unnecessary. Furcal has yet to hit and didn't exactly seem optimistic.
"I cannot run 100 percent, I cannot swing the bat good," Furcal said. "Throwing is not bothering me much. Problem is sometimes I have a sharp pain [when leaning forward to field a ball]."
'Loney's Lounge' hosts kids from RBI program
LOS ANGELES -- James Loney and four other Dodgers players joined more than 30 youth in the first-base Baseline Box Club after an 8-3 win over the Nationals to unwind with some video games.
The event was the third annual "Loney's Lounge" and the youth are members of the RBI Los Angeles program. Loney himself is an alumnus of RBI.
"I played in RBI in 1999," Loney said. "It's a great opportunity out here. We probably got the Wii a little bit, PlayStation 3. It's a good time all around."
Center fielder Matt Kemp and pitcher Clayton Kershaw swung by, as did catcher A.J. Ellis and reliever Kenley Jansen.
Best Buy provided all the video-game consoles, games and large-screen televisions for the party, and the Dodgers Dream Foundation provided refreshments. Loney's Lounge T-shirts were also given out and signed by the players.
Evan Drellich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.