Saturday, July 6, 2013
Can Manny duplicate Ibanez's run at 41?
By Todd Wills
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Wondering if Manny Ramirez can still hit at 41 years old?
The Rangers will begin finding out Sunday night when he plays in his first game for Triple-A Round Rock, the start of his audition to get back to the big leagues.
The Rangers know there's one 41-year old who can still hit -- Seattle's Raul Ibanez, who wore them out with two home runs in a three-game series earlier this week. Ibanez has 21 home runs, including seven in his last 11 games.
If the Rangers can get anything close to that production with Ramirez -- who has 555 career home runs -- they'll be all in.
Part of the key for Ibanez is staying healthy and keeping himself in good shape. And it will be the same for Ramirez. They've both proven over long careers they can hit.
"I don't know if the numbers will be what they were when they were in their prime," Washington said. "They become dangerous. And Ibanez has always been a dangerous hitter.
"You look at (Ibanez), I don't see a change in his body. When he was a youngster in Seattle. I didn't see a change in his body when he was doing well in Philly. I didn't see any change in his body when he was doing well last year for the Yankees.
"So it's pride. He takes care of himself."
Ibanez is helped by playing in the cool weather in Seattle, Washington said. Ramirez will be challenged by the heat in Texas, which hasn't been much of a factor this summer, but will be soon as August closes in.
"It's a challenge," Washington said. "To go out there and work out and then go out there at night in 96 and 97 degree heat. Play in 100 and something. That's a challenge. But it's mind over matter. Ibanez in a good situation playing in Seattle."