By Todd Dybas The News Tribune
NEW YORK — The Seattle Mariners Raul Ibanez won’t be bothered with the pressure of playing in a big market.
Ibanez spent last season in the New York Yankees’ clubhouse and said, since he thinks all pressure is self-induced, there was little to worry about.
On the heels of that philosophy, Ibanez was not concerned about back-page tabloid headlines or sports talk radio bellowing.
“I try to ignore anything that doesn’t pertain to me doing my job to help the team,” Ibanez said. “I’ve never understood how — no offense — reading a newspaper or listening to what someone else is saying about me, good or bad, is going to help me do a better job at what I do.
“What everyone thinks or says should be irrelevant anyway to a pro athlete. The only thing that matters is what you think, you believe and how you execute that. I just kind of ignore anything that doesn’t pertain to me becoming a better player or better teammate.”
Ibanez hit .240 with 19 home runs and 60 RBI for the Yankees last season. It was in the postseason where he put together his own highlight reel. Ibanez hit .444 with two home runs in nine at-bats in the American League Division Series against the Baltimore Orioles. Ibanez also homered in the American League Championship Series against Detroit.
Tuesday, Ibanez was 2-for-3 with a home run against Yankees’ left-hander CC Sabathia, who usually dominates left-handed hitters. Ibanez had not faced Sabathia for years, but carried a career .286 average and .524 slugging percentage in 42 at-bats into the game against Sabathia, most of which came in the 40-year-old Ibanez’s younger days. Sabathia was also not yet the dominant pitcher he has been the last five years when Ibanez had his earlier success against the left-hander.
Good career numbers against Sabathia also put infielder Robert Andino (.348 batting average) and catcher Kelly Shoppach (.484 slugging percentage) into the lineup against Sabathia. Andino was 1-for-2 with a walk and Shoppach was 1-for-3 against Sabathia.
Kinney, Gutierrez Update
Mariners manager Eric Wedge said that reliever Josh Kinney will join the Tacoma Rainiers this week. Kinney pitched just three innings this season before being placed on the 60-day disabled list April 1 because of a stress reaction in his left ribs.
Wedge also said more will be known about center fielder Franklin Gutierrez’s future after he runs again today. Gutierrez has been on the disabled list since May 8 because of a strained hamstring. It’s possible he will start a rehabilitation assignment at the end of the week.
Curtis Granderson hit cleanup in his 2013 debut for the Yankees on Tuesday. Granderson was on the disabled list with a fractured right wrist.
He hit 43 home runs last year and was 0-for-3 with a walk Tuesday.