Gibbons agrees to deal with independent-league Ducks

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. -- Jay Gibbons agreed Monday to a contract with the minor league Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League after searching for 2½ months and failing to get an offer from any major league team.

Gibbons was released the Baltimore Orioles just before Opening Day after hitting .189 with no homers and four RBIs in 16 games during spring training. The 31-year-old outfielder is owed $11.9 million by the Orioles for 2008 and 2009 under the $21.1 million, four-year contract he agreed to in January 2006.

He was suspended for 15 days on Dec. 6 by commissioner Bud Selig following a media report that he received a shipment of the human growth hormone after January 2005, when it was banned by baseball. The suspension was rescinded April 11, when players and owners agreed to toughen their drug agreement

"Through our first 11 seasons, the Atlantic League has returned over 350 players back to affiliated organizations and 45 players to the major leagues," Ducks owner Frank Boulton said in a statement on the team's Web site. "We're hopeful Jay can help us win while proving that he's healthy and ready to contribute at the major league level."

Taken Baltimore from Toronto in the 2000 winter-meeting draft, Gibbons hit .260 with 121 home runs and 405 RBIs in 779 games over seven seasons for the Orioles. He batted .230 with six homers and 28 RBIs last season before surgery on his left shoulder on Aug. 14. It was the fourth time in seven seasons that injuries prevented him from appearing in 100 games.