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.

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.