Gibbons grateful for chance with Dodgers

Gibbons grateful for chance with Dodgers

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.