With new contact lens, Gibbons returns to lineup

With new contact lens, Gibbons returns to lineup

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- After getting a hit in his first at-bat with it on Thursday, Dodgers outfielder Jay Gibbons gave rave reviews to the new contact lens he just received.

"A night and day difference," said Gibbons, who was 2-for-22 at the plate before finally calling timeout and flying to San Francisco to see a pair of specialists this week.

"So far, so good. I won't get a hit every time. But in my mind, I'm starting Spring Training today. I first felt the difference just playing catch today, and it was almost a sigh of relief. Batting practice was a lot better. The first pitch I was able to lock in. I hope to get it going now."

Gibbons said the previous contact lens he was wearing wouldn't stay in his eye. He went to contacts when an offseason "touch-up", or laser surgery, he originally had in 2004 didn't go as planned. As a result, he came home early from winter ball but was hoping the situation would be resolved by the contact lens.

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"They changed the prescription and gave me a flatter lens that seems to stay in more," he said. "My vision wasn't bad, but I felt I was going through the motions and didn't have the confidence that I was seeing things clearly."

"I'd like to see him healthy," said manager Don Mattingly when asked if Gibbons was a "lock" to make the club as a platoon left fielder. "If the vision thing isn't right and you can't swing a bat, you know the plan going in, but you want to see him with clear vision. If you can't see you can't hit, I'm telling you that right now."