Jay Gibbons’ eye problems give Tony Gwynn Jr. starting job

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Jay Gibbons will begin the season on the disabled list after new contact lenses failed to fix the ongoing vision problems he’s been having all spring, according to Tony Jackson of ESPNLA.com.

Gibbons told Jackson that the new lenses improved his vision off the field, but failed to improve his eyesight at the plate because he “had no depth perception.”

He’s scheduled to visit another specialist, but is having trouble finding lenses that work due to “flattening of his cornea that is a normal result of … surgery he underwent last fall as a follow-up to the lasik procedure he had in 2004.”

Gibbons’ season-opening stint on the DL opens the door for Tony Gwynn Jr. to be the Dodgers’ primary left fielder, with Marcus Thames taking his place in the lineup versus left-handed pitching. It’s an interesting platoon partnership, because Gwynn is a great defender with a sub par bat and Thames is a horrible defender who can crush lefties.

Royals sign Michael Saunders to a minor-league deal

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Free agent outfielder Michael Saunders has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Royals, the team announced Friday. While the move comes just two days after Saunders agreed to terms with the Pirates, he allegedly asked for his release after the club acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson in a multi-player swap with the Rays on Thursday.

After earning his first spot on an All-Star team in 2016, Saunders followed up a solid campaign with a career-worst performance in 2017. The 31-year-old split the season between the Phillies and Blue Jays’ camps, batting a combined .202/.256/.344 with six home runs and -0.7 fWAR in 234 plate appearances. Although he remained healthy throughout the year, with no sign of the lingering hamstring strain that has plagued him on and off since 2013, he wasn’t productive enough to merit a full-time role on either roster.

With Dickerson slated for a starting role in Pittsburgh, it was unlikely that Saunders would have commanded anything other than a backup role in 2018. Now, however, he’ll compete for playing time amid a slew of outfield options, including Alex Gordon, Cody Asche, Jorge Bonifacio, Tyler Collins and Paulo Orlando.