Trio of Dodgers veterans ailing

Trio of Dodgers veterans ailing

Trio of Dodgers veterans ailing
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Three of the Dodgers' 30-something veterans -- Jay Gibbons, Casey Blake and Juan Uribe -- were topics for manager Don Mattingly in Monday's medical update.

Gibbons, experiencing continuing left eye problems after offseason laser surgery, will miss several games while undergoing "extended tests," Mattingly said. Gibbons was able to participate in pregame workouts.

Mattingly added that 37-year-old third baseman Blake had an MRI scheduled Monday to define the extent of his rib cage injury, which originally was described as back spasms. Results of the test were not expected to be discussed until Tuesday.

And second baseman Uribe left Sunday's game in Las Vegas after two at-bats as a precautionary measure after reporting "tightness" on Saturday. Uribe also participated in pregame workouts on Monday and is expected to play on Tuesday, Mattingly said.

As for Blake, Mattingly said the club needs to know better what it's dealing with, which is why the MRI was requested.

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"Yesterday, he was sore," Mattingly said of Blake. "It moved from the lower back to the back of the ribs. He was better by the end of the day, but the test will give us some definition."

Blake said he was able to sleep "a little better" than the night before, but he obviously remains in discomfort and he's frustrated to be out of action, particularly while hitting .077.

"I need to play right now," Blake said. "If I could play, I'd play."

Mattingly said he will probably move the 32-year-old Uribe from second to third and have Jamey Carroll play second base if Blake is out for an extended period.

The 34-year-old Gibbons, who has struggled to an .091 batting average this spring, originally had laser surgery in 2004. He had a "touchup" procedure during the offseason because his eyesight was "going south," but wasn't happy with the results and left winter ball in Venezuela early.

Gibbons has been trying to play while wearing contact lenses and glasses, but finally conceded that he can't continue until his eyesight improves. He will fly to San Francisco to see a contact lens specialist.

"I need to find something that stays in my eye," Gibbons said. "[The lens] just doesn't fit great and pops out at inconvenient times, like maybe hitting.

"You can't hit a curveball if you don't have depth perception; that just doesn't work," said Mattingly. "He needs to get it straightened out."

Gibbons, who also was slowed by a week off with the flu, wouldn't blame his average on his eyesight.

"I don't feel horrible hitting; I don't want to put it on that," Gibbons said. "I think I'm seeing well enough to get more than two hits. My son could get two hits. It's more mentally thinking about it. I had surgery so I wouldn't worry about my eye, and here I am worried about my eye. Worried enough to leave camp. I really didn't want this to happen. I hope by Thursday it's a non-issue."

The 34-year-old Gibbons last year revived a career that many thought was over. He took a Minor League job with the Dodgers after being out of the big leagues for two years, and worked his way back to The Show, exploiting the absence of Manny Ramirez when he was called up and slugging five homers in 75 at-bats.

Gibbons was re-signed to serve as the left-handed hitter in a left-field platoon with Marcus Thames, but Gibbons' absence is being offset by a big spring from another left-handed-hitting outfielder, Tony Gwynn, who is hitting .321, along with Xavier Paul, who is out of options.

"Tony is making a little case out there," said Mattingly. "[Hitting coach Jeff Pentland] said he's swinging really good. Tony is showing himself. And X is in that group, too. He hasn't swung the bat good, but I know what he can do. He's pushing to show us what he can do. He had that [herniated disk in his] neck at the end of the year and didn't go to winter ball, so he came here like the rest, [needing to get into game shape]. Last spring, he had played winter ball."

Mattingly said that Uribe had "tightness," without specifying where, in explaining why he played only four innings on Sunday in Las Vegas. He said Uribe was expected to return to the lineup on Tuesday, but would probably play fewer than the seven innings he hoped to get from his other position players.

"The last thing I need is for Juan to have any issues," Mattingly said. "I'm not worried about Juan getting innings. I just want to make sure he's healthy."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.