Results tagged ‘ Raul Ibanez ’

Howdy from Houston

houston shot.jpg 

Random thoughts from Houston … 

  • Jimmy Rollins said he meant no disrespect to the Phillies when he said the Yankees never would have traded Cliff Lee like the Phillies did. He said he meant it to compliment the Yankees, and say it would have big had the Phillies beaten them in the World Series because they are the only team that can spend with impunity. Either way, it’s much ado about nothing. Ruben Amaro Jr. had no comment when asked about it yesterday, but kiddingly gave Rollins a hard time in the clubhouse before the game.
  • Raul Ibanez hit a ball hard in the first inning, a double to score to runs. Could be a good sign. Ibanez has been struggling.
  • Shane Victorino entered tonight’s game hitting just .154 (2 for 13) with two RBIs. So he took some time going through the team’s bat bags before BP, looking for a teammate’s bat he could use in the game. Matt Stairs said last season that Victorino is a habitual bat borrower, so it’s not too unusual to see him doing that. But it shows players will try anything to get out of a funk.
  • Happy Birthday to Chris Wheeler … except it isn’t his birthday. But Phillies broadcasters are behaving like it is, giving him a cake and a card and everything. Wheeler accidentally wrote in his book that his birthday is April 9. It’s actually August 9. As somebody who writes thousands upon thousands upon thousands of words a year, I feel his pain.
  • Had the worst allergy attack of my life in DC. You know it’s bad when players come up to you and think you’re dying. Thankfully, the pollen count isn’t crippling me in Houston.
  • The Astros play “Deep In the Heart of Texas” during the seventh-inning stretch. Always reminds me of the scene in Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure.


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!

Sunday Morning Notes

Just five days remaining before the Phillies fly north to Philadelphia.

Just eight days remaining before Opening Day.

Ready to get home.

But first a little business. The Phillies today optioned John Mayberry Jr. to Minor League camp. They also reassigned catcher Dane Sardinha and infielder Ozzie Chavez. No surprises there. Mayberry hit .289 with three doubles, one home run and six RBIs this spring. If something should happen to one of the Phillies’ outfielders this season he likely would be the first man up.

Raul Ibanez isn’t in today’s lineup against the Pirates. He got hit with a pitch in the right elbow Friday night. He had his elbow wrapped in ice this morning. Not a good spring for Ibanez. He is hitting .098 (4 for 41), easily the worst spring of his professional career since he became an everyday player in 2002.


Here is the pitching schedule the remainder of the exhibition season:

  • Monday vs. Braves: J.A. Happ, Antonio Bastardo, Chad Durbin and Danys Baez.
  • Tuesday @ Astros: Kyle Kendrick, Jose Contreras, David Herndon and Baez.
  • Wednesday vs. Blue Jays: Roy Halladay, Ryan Madson and Durbin.
  • Thursday vs. Pirates: Baez, Bastardo, Madson and Herndon.
  • Friday vs. Pirates at Citizens Bank Park: Cole Hamels, Jamie Moyer, Bastardo and Contreras.
  • Saturday vs. Pirates at Citizens Bank Park: Blanton, Happ, Madson and Durbin.


Thanks to the folks who voted for The Zo Zone in The Phield. Make sure to log onto the site Monday where I’ll be playing my Elite Eight game against Balls, Sticks, & Stuff. Kudos to I Want to Go to the Zoo with Roy Halladay, who put up a good fight.


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!

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!

Ibanez Is Happy and Healthy

ibanez vs. atlanta.jpgRaul Ibanez
, Ryan Howard and Shane Victorino arrived at camp today, which means almost everybody is here. I heard Jayson Werth is en route. I imagine the same holds true for Jimmy Rollins and Greg Dobbs.

Players must report by tomorrow for physicals with the first full-squad workout Tuesday.

Ibanez said he is feeling much better. He had sports hernia surgery Nov. 9 to repair a muscle tear in his abdomen. Charlie Manuel said he thought the injury affected Ibanez last season, although Ibanez downplayed it today. Ibanez hit .312 with 22 home runs, 59 RBIs and a .656 slugging percentage in 62 games through June 17, but batted .232 with 12 homers, 34 RBIs and a .448 slugging percentage in 72 games the rest of the regular season.

“It was me,” he said. “I should have been better. I should have been better. I should have played better. That has nothing to do with anything that I was feeling or anything like that. I could have still done it. Everybody has some discomfort at that point of the season anyway. I should have done better. That wasn’t me there at the end, and I’m looking to correct that.”

But Ibanez then said there is a big difference in how he feels today compared to how he felt.

“Obviously I feel a lot better now,” he said. “You kind of think that it’s going to go away and you’ll be able to play through it. We were able to finish the season and stuff like that, so it worked out all right. But it was going on for a long time, too. I was hurting in May and I was fine then. I was playing well then. It got to a point in June that it was obviously .. it was unbearable at that point.”

The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly: Philadelphia Phillies” is available online, and will be in Delaware Valley bookstores SOON!

Lidge, Ibanez, Eyre to Have Surgery Next Week

lidge 02.jpgIt turns out Phillies closer Brad Lidge was more injured in 2009 than he let on.

He will have surgery Wednesday to remove a loose body from his right elbow. He also will have his right flexor/pronator tendon evaluated. If the tendon needs to be repaired, Lidge is unlikely to be ready to pitch by the beginning of Spring Training – although he should be ready a short time after. If the tendon is fine, he should be ready to pitch when camp opens in February in Clearwater, Fla.

Lidge, who went 0-8 with a 7.21 ERA and 31 saves in 42 opportunities, also spent time on the disabled list this season with inflammation in his right knee. Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Lidge’s knee is fine.

Leftfielder Raul Ibanez will have a sports hernia surgically repaired, and left-hander Scott Eyre will have loose bodies removed from his left elbow. Both surgeries will be Monday.

Ibanez went on the disabled list June 18 with a strained left groin. It was later revealed in a Sports Illustrated story that he had a small, but significant muscle tear in his abdomen. It could have affected Ibanez’s play the final months of the season. He hit .312 with 22 home runs, 59 RBIs and a .656 slugging percentage in 62 games through June 17. He hit .232 with 12 homers, 34 RBIs and a .448 slugging percentage in 72 games the rest of the regular season.

Eyre is a potential free agent. Amaro said they will decide whether or not they are interested in re-signing Eyre based on the results from his surgery.

Both Ibanez and Eyre are expected to be ready to play by Spring Training.


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Phillies Pick Up Lee's Option

Thumbnail image for lee 0731 b.jpgThe Phillies announced their first significant move of the off-season today when they picked up Cliff Lee‘s $9 million club option.

It was no surprise.

Ruben Amaro Jr. said they have spoken with Lee’s agent a couple times during the postseason, and said they would consider thinking about a contract extension for Lee.

“That said, we have some time on that,” Amaro said.

Amaro also said they have not decided on Pedro Feliz‘s $5.5 million club option. Amaro said that decision must be made by Monday.

“More than anything else, what options might be out there for us,” said Amaro, asked why the decision on Feliz’s option is more difficult than Lee’s. “And deciding whether picking up his option is best suited to try to move forward. He had a solid year for us. I like the man personally. He’s a great person. He’s a great teammate. But I also believe in trying to improve and sometimes a change can be for the better. It doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going to, but it’s something that we’re thinking about.”

Amaro announced that leftfielder Raul Ibanez (groin), closer Brad Lidge (elbow) and Scott Eyre (elbow) would be seen by team doctors Friday and Saturday. Eyre needs surgery to remove a loose body from his elbow. Lidge is going to get checked for potential loose bodies in his elbow. And Ibanez will have a MRI on his groin. Ibanez also had a tear in his abdomen, which might require surgery.

“We’re getting our arms around that to see exactly what kind of damage he has in there,” Amaro said of Ibanez’s injury.

Amaro also announced that the entire coaching staff has been invited back for 2010.


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Going to New York

Here are a few things from today’s workout at the Bank:

  • Charlie Manuel expects to see CC Sabathia three times if the World Series goes seven games.
  • Raul Ibanez is going to DH Game 1, which would allow Ben Francisco to play left field. Matt Stairs or Greg Dobbs could DH Game 2 against A.J. Burnett.
  • Robin Roberts spoke about the 1950 World Series. He said back then he hated four things: Notre Dame, Michigan, the Yankees and Russia. That might be one of my top five answers to a question all year.
  • Manuel would not say who will pitch Game 2, but he sounds more and more like it’s going to be Pedro Martinez. Martinez went 2-0 with a 1.88 ERA in five starts at home this season. He went 3-1 with a 5.66 ERA in four starts on the road, not including the seven shutout innings he threw in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. He is 0-2 with a 5.93 ERA in his last five postseason appearances against the Yankees. But Martinez has experience. He won’t be intimidated. “We weigh all that,” Manuel said. “We try to weigh everything possible. I guess that’s the good part about my job. I’ve got quite a few people around and we discuss everything about the game. We discuss everything that you’re supposed to cover. There’s not a whole lot that we’re going to miss as far as what we want to do. But when I look at Pedro, Pedro has been in the big environment. He’s pitched about everywhere you can pitch. I don’t think nothing is going to really bother him or get him upset. I think we can pitch him in either ballpark, really. I don’t think it matters at all.”


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Could Ibanez Need Surgery After the Season?

Thumbnail image for ibanez vs. atlanta.jpgRaul Ibanez has some Chase Utley in him.

Utley, who said this afternoon that his right foot and right hip are healthy, refused to discuss his hip injury last season — until after he had surgery in November. Ibanez, who spent time on the DL this season with a strained left groin, declined today to talk about a small muscle tear near his abdomen that has bothered him most of the season.

Sports Illustrated first reported the tear. On the team’s trip to Toronto in June, Ibanez had to decide between surgery and missing a large chunk of the season or spending a short time on the DL and playing the season hurt, SI wrote. Ibanez chose the latter, but asked about it today Ibanez sounded much like Utley last season.

“I’m fine. I’m doing fine,” Ibanez said. “That’s all stuff that’s in the past. I had spoken to the guy, but that’s stuff that’s kind of in the past. I don’t really even think about it. Look, I’m fine right now.”

So no surgery after the season?

“I don’t know,” he said. “We’ll see what happens. I’m not thinking past today right now, and I’m not thinking back the other way, either. But I’m doing fine. I’ve been fine for a while.”

SI wrote that Ibanez consulted with a neuromuscular specialist in Toronto and a surgeon in Philadelphia before he chose to skip surgery and try aggressive rehabilitation.

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. declined to comment about Ibanez’s muscle tear.


Charlie Manuel officially named Cliff Lee his Game 1 starter, but he would not commit to anybody for Game 2. Well, at least publicly he would not commit to anybody.


The Phillies held a simulated game this afternoon. Pedro Martinez, J.A. Happ, Chan Ho Park, Brett Myers, Kyle Kendrick, Antonio Bastardo, Clay Condrey and Tyler Walker all threw.


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Ibanez on CNN


Raul Ibanez, featured on CNN’s Latino in America.


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Chooooch, Rauuuul, Chan Ho and More In Game 1

chooch 1014 b.jpgSome quick hits after the Phillies’ 8-6 victory over Los Angeles in Game 1 of the NLCS:

  • Since the NLCS moved to a seven-game format in 1985, the team taking a 1-0 lead has won 16 of 23 series, including 14 of the previous 16. Eight of the 10 NL teams that took a 1-0 lead on the road have reached the World Series, including the last seven.
  • In the NLCS and ALCS since ’85, the Game 1 winner is 28-18.
  • Carlos Ruiz hit a three-run homer in the fifth against Clayton Kershaw to make it 3-1. Ruiz, a career .246 hitter in the regular season, has hit .354 (17-for-48) with three doubles, two home runs, 10 RBIs and eight walks in his last 15 playoff games. “He likes the bright lights,” Ryan Howard said.
  • Howard smacked a two-run double to right field in the fifth to give the Phillies a 5-1 lead. It was Howard’s 17th and 18th RBIs in the postseason, which set a Phillies playoff record. Howard has 18 RBIs in 22 postseason games. Mike Schmidt had 16 RBIs in 32 postseason games.
  • Dodgers left-hander George Sherrill has allowed just two home runs to left-handed hitters the past two seasons: June 14, 2008, against Adam LaRoche and last night to Raul Ibanez. “I think that was a shock for everybody, especially the walks, which really hasn’t been something that he has done a lot of,” Dodgers manager Joe Torre said of Sherrill. “You know, that was a blow.”
  • Cole Hamels allowed four runs in 5 1/3 innings. He got rattled in the fifth when Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley could not turn a double play. Manny Ramirez followed and hit a 2-0 changeup for a two-run home run to cut the lead to 5-4. “It’s tough because you’re battling,” Hamels said. “I got exactly what I wanted and unfortunately the results didn’t happen. It takes a lot out of you because these guys are very tough hitters, so when you do get them in a situation where you can seal the deal, it takes a lot to really get through that. I really thought we had that. It’s the process I’ve had to go through all year – learning how to deal with my emotions and learning to control them and forgetting about what just happened.”
  • Hamels went 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA in five postseason starts last year. He is 1-1 with a 6.97 ERA in two starts this postseason, but sounded upbeat after the game. Everybody in the clubhouse thought Hamels had thrown much better than his line indicated, for what that’s worth.
  • Chan Ho Park pitched great. He entered the game in the seventh inning with a runner on second and no outs. He got Ramirez to ground out to Pedro Feliz to keep Andre Ethier at second. He struck out Matt Kemp and got Casey Blake to ground out to Utley to end the inning. It was the pitching performance of the night. “I thought he was outstanding,” Rich Dubee said. Charlie Manuel and Dubee said they did not consider sending Park back out to start the eighth. They had Ryan Madson rested, and did not want Park going out throwing 50 pitches his first time back since Sept. 16.


Random thought: I’m looking forward to seeing Pedro Martinez pitch today in Game 2.


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