Notes: Ibanez gets off the schneid

March, 24, 2012
3/24/12
5:43
PM ET
Heading into his third at-bat of the day against the Tigers on Saturday, Raul Ibanez was batting an abysmal .051 this spring -- two hits in 39 at-bats.

But with one seventh-inning swing against Detroit starter Max Scherzer, Ibanez hopes he jump-started a turnaround.

The 39-year-old blasted the first pitch he saw in that at-bat, a fastball, over the center-field wall for a two-run home run, part of the Yankees 4-2 victory in 10 innings.

"It felt good," Ibanez said. "It felt good to be able to make a left turn [around the bases] instead of a right turn [toward the dugout]."

Ibanez revealed that he did some extra hitting on Friday under the tutelage of both hitting coach Kevin Long and former Yankee great Reggie Jackson. "It was very helpful. Today I felt a lot better."

"Just everything," he added, when asked what felt different. "I felt like I was in a better situation to hit, and a better position to take a good swing."

Manager Joe Girardi said he thought he noticed Ibanez pressing a little bit. "It’s good for him to get that hit like that for us, and drive the ball like he’s capable of doing,' Girardi said.

With the Yankees facing a lefty on Sunday, when the Tigers bring a split-squad to Tampa for an afternoon game, Girardi will instead have Ibanez get six or seven at-bats against minor leaguers on Sunday morning.

When asked, Ibanez couldn't recall having a spring quite like this one. But two years ago, as a member of the Phillies, Ibanez batted just .130 in spring training, and finished the regular season with 16 home runs, 83 RBIs, and a batting average of .275 -- just five points below his current career average of .280.

Then again, Ibanez will be turning 40 on June 2. Time catches up with everyone, eventually.

KNICKED UP: Backup catcher Francisco Cervelli was removed from the game in the top of the seventh inning, after he was hit by a pitch in his shin. Cervelli had an ice-pack on the shin after the game, but said he is fine.

WELCOME BACK: David Robertson is scheduled to pitch in Sunday's game against the Tigers -- only his second appearance of the spring, and first since March 5, after suffering a bone bruise on his right foot in a household mishap.

After Robertson came through a simulated inning on Friday just fine, Girardi deemed him ready for an appearance in a real game.
Kieran Darcy is an ESPNNewYork.com staff writer. He joined ESPN in August 2000 after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, where he played four years of JV basketball.
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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Masahiro Tanaka
WINS ERA SO IP
12 2.51 135 129
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Ellsbury .293
HRM. Teixeira 17
RBIM. Teixeira 48
RB. Gardner 59
OPSJ. Ellsbury .778
ERAM. Tanaka 2.51
SOM. Tanaka 135