Based on my chat this afternoon, apparently Raul Ibanez’s 2-for-24 start to spring training is exactly what everyone was worried about when the Yankees signed the veteran to a big league deal late last month. Ibanez has struck out five times, hasn’t walked yet, and he’s hitting .083.
“I think a lot of it has to do with feeling comfortable and finding your timing,” Ibanez said. “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.”
We’ve seen this plenty of times in the past when hitting coach Kevin Long has worked with a hitter to develop quieter mechanics. In the case of Curtis Granderson, the impact was overwhelmingly positive. In the case of Derek Jeter, the changes were scrapped after a few months of ineffectiveness.
As for Ibanez? Time will tell, and right now there hasn’t been a lot of time.
“To me it looks like a little bit of a timing issue,” Joe Girardi said. “He’s a little bit late, and that’s something that’s very correctable. You hope when they start playing two and three days in a row, you kind of get that timing better. Some guys take a while to get going in spring training. Right now, at times, I think he’s just a little late.”
Ibanez didn’t have very good overall numbers last season, and he’s already 39 years old, so the concern about his production is easy to understand. But he’s also a veteran who’s been in this situation before.
“You definitely have to wait and trust it’s going to be there,” he said. “It will come. It’s happened to me before, so it will come.”
Associated Press photo