“Tremendous clubhouse guy,” Joe Girardi said. “Extremely focused on what he wants to do and what he needs to do. Will do anything that you ask him. In some of our communications I’ve asked him, ‘What do you need? Tell me what you’re thinking.’ He’s like, ‘Whatever you need.’ I’m like, ‘That’s not the answer I’m looking for. You’re not helping me,’ but that’s the kind of guy he is.”
Ibanez spent the past three seasons as the Phillies regular left fielder. He came through the minor leagues as a right fielder. He’s played 136 big league games at first base. He was a regular designated hitter through the first half of 2005 before taking over in left field after the Mariners traded Randy Winn.
“I would have been happy doing whatever (this season),” Ibanez said. “I would’ve been happy playing for the New York Yankees, so I’m happy to do whatever. I wouldn’t say (playing the field) was important, but I do take pride in being able to play out there.”
When the Yankees were negotiating with Ibanez, they made it clear that they envisioned him as a designated hitter who could play both outfield corners. Nevermind that he hadn’t played right field since 2005 — all of three games that year — Ibanez was in right when he played the field for the first time this spring. He caught the only fly ball hit that way.
“I haven’t played right field in a long time,” Ibanez said. “But that’s ok. It comes back… I’m ready to do whatever Joe wants me to do. So whatever he needs me to do, I’m ready to help.”
Associated Press photo