Former Oriole Gibbons to sign with Long Island

June 16, 2008|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN REPORTER

Former Orioles outfielder Jay Gibbons confirmed last night that he will sign a contract this week with the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League.

"I'm looking forward to getting back and playing ball again," said Gibbons, who will likely start working out with the Ducks in the next couple of days. "It's been 10 weeks, so hopefully I can get out on the field some time this week."

Gibbons, 31, was released by the Orioles in March several months after he admitted to using human growth hormone. He has been working out in his native California and his offseason Arizona home hoping to get an offer from another major league organization. One never came.

Gibbons had offers from several independent league teams but ultimately decided the Ducks were the best fit. Long Island is managed by former major league pitcher Dave LaPoint and includes several former major leaguers, including Carl Everett, Alex Sanchez and Donovan Osborne. Gibbons will also be reunited with reliever Todd Williams, his former Orioles teammate from the 2004 to 2007 seasons.

Guaranteed $11.9 million by the Orioles for 2008 and 2009, Gibbons said he isn't sure what his salary will be. Atlantic League players normally don't receive more than $3,000 per month, according to league guidelines.

Gibbons said all that mattered to him was getting an opportunity and beginning what he hopes is the start of his comeback to the major leagues. When deciding whether to sign with an independent club, Gibbons spoke to several former Orioles teammates, including Kevin Millar, who was signed by the Florida Marlins after playing a season in the independent Northern League with the St. Paul Saints.

"My advice to him was go play wherever you can," Millar said. "If you hit, somebody is going to find you."

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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