Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Gibbons' Return Still Blurry

Jerry Sands may have relegated Dodger outfielder Jay Gibbons to the realm of the irrelevant, but according to the Daily Oklahoman, Gibbons' vision issues don't portend a major-league call-up anytime soon:

The Dodgers assigned Gibbons to their Triple-A club in Albuquerque where he hit .347 with 19 home runs before calling him up in August. With the Dodgers, Gibbons hit five home runs and 17 RBIs in just 75 at bats.

Gibbons played so well he was projected as a starter in the Dodgers outfield entering this season.

However, vision problems forced the career .260 hitter with 126 career home runs to start the 2011 campaign in Albuquerque.

Gibbons said following Saturday's game against the RedHawks that he wasn't sure when he could return to the Dodgers. He is scheduled to finish his rehabilitation assignment with the Isotopes on April 26.

“If I tell them my vision is good and I can string together a few games, I'm back,” Gibbons said. “But there is no reason to go back if I am not able to hit pitching down here.”

Gibbons, 34, was hitless in the first two games of the Isotopes' series against the Oklahoma City RedHawks on Friday and Saturday. [...]

His vision problems began over the winter when he had an eye procedure done to correct a 2004 laser surgery. “I had a touch-up this offseason because my vision was a little off last year,” he said. “It didn't go very well. They overcorrected me.”

Gibbons wore glasses last year. He had the corrective procedure to keep from wearing glasses this season.

“I went through all the pros and cons, and I was told the worst case scenario is you are just wearing glasses again,” he said.

“Unfortunately, I am not able to wear glasses (now) because he overcorrected me so much. So we are trying contacts now. ”

The contacts haven't improved his eyesight.

“If it's not blurriness, it's depth (perception) issues,” he said. “Lately, it's been blurriness. In spring training I was having problems with depth and just picking up any kind of spin.

“We are just having trouble finding the right combination. If it's clear, I can't see depth. But if it's blurry, I can. So it's just been a really bizarre situation.”

I do feel for Gibbons; this is a tough way to exit the game. On the other hand, this situation might not be entirely "bizarre," according to National Geographic studies about monkey and human vision differences:

Monkeys and their human cousins don't necessarily see the world the same way, according to new research from the Peruvian Amazon and a clever experiment from a lab in Scotland.

In fact, some monkeys, even within the same species, see things differently from one another. The research suggests that various forms of sight may confer a range of survival advantages.

Humans have so-called trichromatic, or three-color, vision. So do Old World species such as chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans. Trichromats have three types of light sensitive cells in the retina, fine-tuned to wavelengths that appear blue, green and red.

But New World monkeys have a broad range of vision types. Every howler monkey, for example, is trichromatic. The owl monkey is monochromatic, seeing only in black and white. Among tamarins and spider monkeys, all males are dichromats—they can't perceive reds or greens. But females split 60-40 between three- and two-color vision.

Maybe Gibbons just needs trichromatic, monochromatic, or dichromatic contact lenses. That's the ticket.

Gibbons (not t-shirt) photo: AP / Nam Y. Huh, 3/24/11


Dodger Mom said...

"Over corrected" his surgery. Never heard of that.

Paul said...

It has been a tough break for Jay and his family. I don't know how well he would be hitting right now if everything went smoothly but I do know his vision has been off ever since.

The one thing a player needs is his sight to pick up ball spin unless of course you are Uribe who swings with his eyes closed.