NEW YORK - Raul Ibanez has a message for those who say his spectacular offensive performance in a Phillies uniform could be a result of performance-enhancing drugs.
"I'll come after people who defame or slander me," he said before last night's game against the New York Mets. "It's pathetic and disgusting. There should be some accountability for people who put that out there."
A column in yesterday's Inquirer brought to light an Internet blogger who wondered if Ibanez had used such drugs.
The leftfielder, who turned 37 last week, entered last night tied for first in the National League with 54 RBIs. He was second in home runs with 19. Over his career, Ibanez's 162-game averages for homers and RBIs are 23 and 95, respectively, according to Baseball-Reference.com.
Ibanez said a team official made him aware of the speculation. While troubled by it, Ibanez said he was not surprised.
"Unfortunately, I understand the environment we're in and the events that have led us to this era of speculation," he said. "At the same time, you can't just walk down the street and accuse somebody of being a thief because they didn't have a nice car yesterday and they do today. You can't say that guy is a thief."
Ibanez said he had never used performance-enhancing drugs.
"You can have my urine, my hair, my blood, my stool - anything you can test," Ibanez said. "I'll give you back every dime I've ever made" if the test is positive.
"I'll put that up against the jobs of anyone who writes this stuff," he said. "Make them accountable. There should be more credibility than some 42-year-old blogger typing in his mother's basement. It demeans everything you've done with one stroke of the pen.
"Nobody is above the testing policy. We've seen that."
Ibanez, who signed with the Phils as a free agent over the winter, has impressed team officials and teammates with the time he spends in the weight room and batting cage.
"It's unfair because this story should be about how hard work, determination, and desire trumps chemicals and shortcuts," he said. "That should be the message: desire, character, work ethic. But some guy who doesn't know me - one idiot - says something like this. They should be held accountable. It's cowardly."