Spring Coming Late for Ibanez


Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for ibanez vs. atlanta.jpgRaul Ibanez
has had a rough spring, hitting just .100 (4-for-40) with one home run, one RBI, four walks and 10 strikeouts.

Nobody in Phillies camp seems to be worried, but Ibanez never has had a spring like this. He became a full-time player for the first time with the Kansas City Royals in 2002. He hit .286 (20-for-70) with three homers and 12 RBIs that spring, and hit .294 with 24 homers and 103 RBIs in the regular season.

Here’s a look at his other springs as a full-time player, and what kind of regular seasons he had:

  • 2003: He hit .290 (20-for-69) with no homers and 12 RBIs in Spring Training, and .294 with 18 homers and 90 RBIs in the regular season.
  • 2004: He hit .415 (27-for-65) with two homers and 18 RBIs in Spring Training, his first season with Seattle. He hit .304 with 16 homers and 62 RBIs in the regular season.
  • 2005: He hit .356 (31-for-87) with four homers and 27 RBIs in Spring Training, and .280 with 20 homers and 89 RBIs in the regular season.
  • 2006: He hit .443 (17-for-61) with five homers and 13 RBIs in Spring Training, and .289 with 33 homers and 123 RBIs in the regular season.
  • 2007: He hit .444 (20-for-45) with five homers and 14 RBIs in Spring Training, and .291 with 21 homers and 105 RBIs in the regular season.
  • 2008: He hit .256 (11-for-43) with one homer and 12 RBIs in Spring Training, and .293 with 23 homers and 110 RBIs in the regular season.
  • 2009: Ibanez hit .310 (26-for-84) with two homers and 15 RBIs in Spring Training, his first season with the Phillies. He hit .272 with a career-high 34 homers and 93 RBIs in the regular season, earning his first All-Star appearance.

One theory for Ibanez’s poor spring is that he started hitting much later in the offseason because he was recovering from sports hernia surgery. Ibanez, who turns 38 on June 2, said he typically starts hitting in December. He didn’t start hitting this offseason until mid-January, so he lost about a month-plus of work. But Ibanez’s spring has been so dramatically different than springs past (and this one follows a surgery, which followed a poor second half in 2009) that it gives one pause. He said is healthy and he said he hopes things click the final week of spring before the season opener April 5, but we’ll see.

Stay tuned.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

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