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Ibanez credits Hansen for good spring start

PEORIA, Ariz. -- A day after Jason Bay said his swing feels better than it has for several years, Raul Ibanez echoed a similar sentiment as he kick-started his return to the Mariners with a three-run blast off former teammate Freddy Garcia to highlight Seattle's 8-3 win over the Padres on Sunday.

Ibanez has had better success in recent years than Bay, so it's significant to hear the 40-year-old say he's feeling locked in early after going 2-for-3 with three RBIs in his second Cactus League game since rejoining the Mariners.

Ibanez said reuniting with new Seattle hitting coach Dave Hansen -- another former Mariners teammate -- has been a boon.

"Spring Training is a strange time, because there could be one day you feel pretty good and the next day you don't. It kind of goes back and forth like that," said Ibanez. "The idea is to build consistency. I definitely feel better this spring than I have the last couple springs at the plate, and part of that has been some of the stuff Dave Hansen has been working on with me.

"He was obviously here with me in '04 and '05, and I used to go to him quite a bit in the dugout about hitting stuff. So we have a really nice relationship over the years and he's mentioned some stuff and we're working on some things."

Ibanez was less kind to Garcia, whom he played with in 1999-2000 when Garcia first came up with the Mariners, again in '04 when he returned to Seattle and last year when the two were together with the Yankees. The veteran outfielder spoke well of "The Chief," but didn't treat him as well on the field when he smoked an 0-1 fastball deep over the right-field wall for a three-run blast that was one of five straight hits off Garcia.

"He's a good buddy of mine," Ibanez said. "We had first and second with no out and I was just looking for a pitch that I could hit hard somewhere. I thought he might throw something else. With him, he throws so many different pitches and he's got a great forkball/split thing. I thought he might throw it there, but he didn't, and I was able to get the fat part of the bat on it.

"I haven't faced him for a while, but he's a great competitor and I have the utmost respect for him because I've seen him where he's successful throwing 97 or 98 [mph], and he's learned how to be successful throwing 87."

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