Gibbons Released After 7 Seasons

By Marc Carig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, March 31, 2008

BALTIMORE, March 30 -- The Baltimore Orioles released outfielder Jay Gibbons on Sunday, choosing to absorb the $11.9 million remaining on his contract. Gibbons, who has struggled with injuries and declining production and faces possible repercussions from his admitted use of performance-enhancing drugs, had been with Baltimore for seven seasons, second only to third baseman Melvin Mora in tenure on the team.

"I was wrestling with this one," said President of Baseball Operations Andy MacPhail, who sought counsel from owner Peter Angelos before making the decision. "I was really, to be honest with you, looking for some advice. His advice was, 'You got to do what you got to do.' Those were the last words that he left me with and I took the position of well, this is what we have to do."

Gibbons was to slated a 15-day suspension at the start of the season after admitting to the use of human growth hormone, but the punishment was temporarily delayed by Major League Baseball. He was not available for comment.

"It's a sad time," said veteran first baseman Kevin Millar, who likened Gibbons to a member of the family.

Manager Dave Trembley said Gibbons appeared to be the odd man out this season, with the Orioles' glut of left-handed hitting outfielders.

"We were both in agreement," said Trembley, who informed Gibbons earlier in the day. "I was not going to be able to find playing time for Jay Gibbons with the roster being what it was right here, right now. He agreed with that, he got his release and we're going from there."

Utility man Scott Moore, who enjoyed a stellar spring, will take the final spot on the roster.

"I can't relax now, the season's starting tomorrow," Moore said. "I'm ready to go and I'm excited to help the team win."

Gibbons, 31, hit .260 with 121 homers and 405 RBI since arriving with the Orioles as a Rule 5 draft pick from the Toronto Blue Jays before the 2000 season. While productive when healthy, Gibbons was injury prone and played just 84 games last season, when he underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum. He failed to play more than 100 games in four of his seven years in Baltimore.

L. Hern¿ndez Gets a Spot

Trembley said Luis Hern¿ndez will start the season as Miguel Tejada's replacement at shortstop, beating out utilityman Brandon Fahey for the job.

"I really didn't want him to go into the season feeling as if he had to look over his shoulder, and when he went out there and played, he had to be perfect or if he made a mistake, he wasn't going to play," Trembley said. "You show guys your confidence and you give them opportunity."

Trembley stuck with Hern¿ndez even though he committed seven errors during the exhibition season.

"Spring training is over," he said. "After tomorrow, it's going to be a new day, new life."

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