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Jay Gibbons is happy for his Dodgers paycheck

There was a time when Jay Gibbons was so desperate to find a job that he wrote a letter to every major league team promising to donate his salary to charity if they signed him to a contract.

That was in 2008.

Asked if he still intended to do so, Gibbons smiled.

“I’m going to hold on to my money now,” the outfielder said. “I’ve got kids now. I think three years of not playing is punishment enough.”

Until Gibbons was promoted to the majors from triple-A on Sunday, he hadn’t played in the big leagues since 2007, when he hit .230 for the Baltimore Orioles and was named in the Mitchell Report for receiving shipments of human growth hormone and testosterone.

He found himself unable to find stable work after that. He signed a couple of minor league contracts and played some independent ball. He declared himself retired last year at the age of 32, going as far to line up a job as an assistant coach at Moorpark High School.

Asked whether he tied his inability to find a place in baseball to being named in the Mitchell Report, he said, “I tie it to hitting .230 in ’07. If I played better, I really believe I would have had a job.”

Gibbons said he used human growth hormone to recover from a series of wrist injuries.

“You look for an easy way out sometimes, you look for a quick heal,” Gibbons said. “I paid the price for it.

“I worked so hard to get to the big leagues. To have that come out in the middle of my career tainted the whole thing. It takes away all your hard work. You make one mistake in the middle of your career, you get labeled and they say that’s how you got there. It just wasn’t the case.”

No progress with Lee

The deadline to sign draft picks is Monday, but the Dodgers still haven’t had substantive talks with first-round pick Zach Lee.

A two-sport star, Lee is enrolled in summer classes at Louisiana State and is working out with the football team. The right-hander told reporters at LSU’s media day Tuesday that he has not had any contact with the Dodgers since the day they drafted him.

Assistant general manager Logan White has insisted that the Dodgers didn’t purposely select an unsignable player to avoid having to pay a seven-figure signing bonus. But at least one team with a top-10 selection is known to have passed on Lee because of his bonus demands.

The Dodgers’ spending in this draft could be historically low. They have signed eight of their top 10 picks and spent about $1.3 million on them, according to Baseball America. The Dodgers aren’t expected to sign their two unsigned top-10 picks, Lee and sixth-rounder Kevin Gausman.

The New York Mets had the lowest draft budget of any team last year, spending a total of $3.1 million, including $1.9 million on their top 10 picks. The Mets didn’t have a first-round pick.

Short hops

Juan Castro was promoted from triple-A Albuquerque to replace Rafael Furcal, who was officially placed on the 15-day disabled list. … Furcal will be eligible to be activated Aug. 18, not Aug. 17, as was reported Tuesday.… Garret Anderson, who was designated for assignment Sunday, was granted his unconditional release.

dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

twitter.com/dylanohernandez

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