Ibanez returns to lineup, not concerned about role

Ibanez returns to lineup, not concerned about role

SEATTLE -- Raul Ibanez has seen his playing time dip dramatically the past two weeks after getting off to a slow start this season, but the veteran outfielder has made the most of his limited recent opportunities and manager Eric Wedge had him back in the lineup for Friday's series opener with the A's.

Ibanez is hitting .188 in 64 at-bats and has started just three times in the last 13 games. But the 40-year-old has gone 4-for-10 in that limited role after losing playing time following a 1-for-23 slump. He hit a three-run homer on Friday to key the 6-3 victory over the A's.

"It's fine," Ibanez said of his playing situation. "I'm not really worried about it. You just stay ready and work on your craft and nothing really changes. You stay prepared to do your job."

Wedge hasn't forgotten about the 18-year veteran, who also laced a pinch-hit RBI double on Tuesday in Pittsburgh.

"That was big," said Wedge about Ibanez's homer in Friday's game. "Good for Raul, good for us. That was a big shot in the arm for us. The guy has been working so hard and you know he'll continue to get better, but that was a big boost for us today."

Ibanez has been in every situation in baseball, so trying to stay sharp even while playing less doesn't faze him.

"You just do it," he said. "I don't put a lot of thought into it. You just make it work. It's pretty simple approach. Make it work."

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.