Jay Gibbons appears headed to DL, Tony Gwynn Jr. and Jamey Carroll to start opener

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The depth of the problem is what gets Jay Gibbons.

Gibbons had a procedure on his left eye in the off-season to aid a previous laser surgery. And since then, not a lot has gone right.

Now he appears headed for the disabled list to start the season. Manager Don Mattingly said he would likely start Tony Gwynn Jr. in left on opening day and bat him second, despite saying Jamey Carroll, viewed as a possible No. 2 hitter, would start at second base instead of rookie Ivan DeJesus Jr.


‘I look more at Gwynn at second,’ Mattingly said. ‘Jamey has handled eighth really well. A guy who hits back there the best.’

Gibbons, however, will probably be watching.

‘It’s been a battle and we ran out of time,’ Gibbons said.

Gibbons left camp two weeks ago
to visit a specialist in San Francisco, who prescribed new contacts; the old ones kept popping out. He came back and reported his vision was great.

‘They gave me better vision but worse depth perception,’ Gibbons said. ‘We’re still trying to find that combination that gets me to be able to play.’

Gibbons has had 38 at-bats this spring, but only four hits (.105).

‘I was going up there in spring training with very little chance,’ he said. ‘And these pitchers are pretty good. Once they figure out you can’t see any spin, they’re going to cut you up pretty quick and that’s what was happening.’

Gibbons is scheduled to visit yet another specialist Tuesday in Los Angeles.

‘This is another guy,’ he said. ‘I have as many guys working on it as I can. The more the merrier to me. If anybody knows anybody else, I’ll call ’em.’

Mattingly said it would be unwise to count on Gibbons to start the season at this point.

‘Tough,’ Mattingly said. ‘The last few days he obviously hasn’t been in the lineup much, having trouble feeling good about throwing him out there when he’s not seeing good. At this point, I have to see the guys who are pretty much ready.’

Mattingly batted his probable opening-day lineup Monday against the Angels:

Rafael Furcal, shortstop
Gwynn, left field
Andre Ethier, right field
Matt Kemp, center field
James Loney, first base
Juan Uribe, third base
Rod Barajas, catcher
Carroll, second base

If Gibbons is on the disabled list, Mattingly’s only other expected candidate to start in left against Giants right-hander Tim Lincecum in Thursday’s opener would be Xavier Paul. Mattingly was clearly uncomfortable discussing his lineup while the roster remained unofficial.

‘But the way I look at it right now, I was thinking more in terms of T-Gwynn from the standpoint he’s had a good camp, he’s got experience,’ Mattingly said.

Gibbons said it shouldn’t take long to be ready once his vision is corrected.

‘I’ve been hitting,’ he said. ‘It’s been bad hitting. But I’ve been seeing pitching. It wouldn’t take long, but I’m sure it would take a few days. The problem is every contact takes a week or two to get adjusted to.

‘There’s really nothing I can do about it. I feel great physically. My body feels ready to go, it’s just a really bizarre situation. I just can’t lock anything in.’

-- Steve Dilbeck