Like most major league baseball players over the all-star break, Raul Ibanez continued to work out during the time off, even taking some batting practice.
Wait, no player does that. No player, but the manically prepared Ibanez.
“When you get to 40, you have to work out," Ibanez said. "I always joke with these guys and say, ‘Inactivity is the enemy of middle-aged players.’ I worked out a couple times, swam some, worked out some, took some swings off the tee a little. It wasn’t like every day, I just worked out Sunday after the game and Tuesday again and swam on Monday and played with the kids in the pool. Just stayed active.”
One thing that Ibanez didn't do during his break was think about his future as pertaining to the trade deadline.
“It’s something I can’t control anyway," Ibanez said. "I’ve been doing this long enough to know if you focus on what you can’t control, then what you can control kind of takes a back seat. I only focus on what I can control, and that’s my attitude and my preparation and my approach to the game, and how I can help my team win. But I don’t really think about it."
So would he like to go to a team that's likely going to participate in the postseason?
“I would say it’s July and why can’t we do that here," he said. "That would be my response. Why can’t we do that here? Yeah, I want to play in the playoffs right here. I think we’ve been playing good baseball the last couple of weeks, and I’d like to see that continue."
Ibanez also took time to watch some of the all-star game with his son, R.J. (Raul Jr.). He didn't see Felix Hernandez pitch.
"He gave me a pitch by pitch breakdown already," Ibanez said.
But he did see the standing ovation for Mariano Rivera in the eighth inning.
" That was awesome," he said. "Just amazing. A great moment just for the game of baseball and everything that he’s done. Not just what he’s done, but how he’s done it. He’s the ultimate professional, first-class. Obviously the greatest relief pitcher ever, but also one of the greatest human beings I’ve ever had the privilege of being around. It was great. I was on the couch and I felt like standing up and clapping.”
Ackley tackles Tal's Hill
Dustin Ackley has yet to tackle Tal's Hill - the nice little slope in center field of Minute Maid Park. The embankment, which is named after former team president Tal Smith, is 90 feet wide and leads up to the wall that is measured 436 feet from home plate. It can be an adventure for outfielders trying to run up an incline while chasing down a fly ball. It could be a little more difficult for a player who is learning outfield at the big league level.
Ackley didn't take any early work before batting practice.
"I haven’t yet," he said. "I probably will in BP a little bit. To be honest, I imagine not many balls are hit that far out there so I probably won’t have to worry about it too much. But I will go out there for a little bit check it out and see how it feels, see if it feels weird or if there any holes. "
The old axiom in baseball for inexperienced players is "the baseball finds you."
But Ackley isn't sure it will find him on the hill.
"It will find you if you haven’t been out there," he said. "If somebody hits a ball out there, I’m sure it’s going to be a double or triple. I’m not going to be playing 400 feet back there. So if they hit it that far, they deserve a double or triple."
Michael Morse is still back in Seattle rehabbing his strained quad. Wedge expects him to go out on a rehab assignment next week.
Reliever Stephen Pryor and Franklin Gutierrez are in the midst of their rehab assignments. They are with the Rainiers in Fresno tonight.
Pryor basically had to start his throwing program from over with the long lay-off.
"Well, it’s going to take him some time," Wedge said. "I won’t say completely, but pretty much. A lot of that he’s been doing with the simulated games and bullpens.”