If you are a regular reader of this blog you know that I’m not a big fan of spring training stats. I find they can be very misleading. So when Raul Ibanez starts off slow in camp this year it is kind of annoying to hear so many people bringing ringing panic bells while pointing out that he is just 2-for-24.
Of course, as he enters his age-40 season there are legitimate reasons to be concerned. And it may very well be the case that he is done. He wasn’t awful against righties last season and to be quite frank, 24 spring training at bats doesn’t mean a whole lot. I’m not ready to buy that he is done until he begins to play in games that matter and gets at least 100 at bats.
I feel like that’s only fair, especially as he continues to work on his timing following a change he made to his swing this offseason with Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long.
“I think a lot of it has to do with feeling comfortable and finding your timing,” Ibanez told Chad Jennings of the Journal News. “I’ve kind of been in between timing mechanisms right now. I’m trying to eliminate some of the extra movement and getting acclimated to that. I’m moving less, so it’s almost like you’re going backwards at first. Hopefully I’ll catch on and figure it out.”
Again, there is no guarantee that this will catch on and it may very well be the case that he is done. It’s still far too early to say that though and it’s certainly too soon to be panicking. Give him time, hope that he finds his timing, and if he struggles during the season and doesn’t show the ability to break out of his funk, the Yankees can look for a replacement.
It shouldn’t be awfully hard to replace him either. He’s a DH, they could find a number of options on the trade market and heck…Johnny Damon might still be available.