IN THE 2 1/2 years since he last played with the Phillies, Raul Ibanez has been a playoff hero for the Yankees, experienced a third stint with the Mariners and, at the age of 41, signed a 1-year deal with the Angels.
He has not, however, been back to Citizens Bank Park. The Yankees didn't visit South Philly in 2012, nor did the Mariners last season, so tonight is Ibanez's first game back in town since he left. He's looking forward to it.
"I think it will be great to get back there," he said before a recent game against Washington at Nationals Park. "It was a great place. I enjoyed my 3 years there. It was an amazing experience when I played there."
A career .274 hitter, Ibanez entered last night's game at Toronto hitting a woeful .140 (14-for-100) with three home runs and 18 RBI this season. He mostly starts as the designated hitter but has six starts in leftfield and three at first base. He's come off the bench to pinch-hit in seven games.
Spending 2009-2011 with the Phillies, Ibanez had a .264/.329/.469 slash line with 70 home runs and 260 RBI. In 2009, he represented Philadelphia in the lone All-Star Game appearance of his 19-year career.
"Some of my fondest memories as a baseball player are right there in Philadelphia," he said. "The organization treated me great and so I'm looking forward to getting back there and seeing some of the guys. There's quite a few guys still there, so I'm looking forward to going back and seeing those guys and getting after it there."