Ibanez benefits from getting limited at-bats

Ibanez benefits from getting limited at-bats

SEATTLE -- For Raul Ibanez, it seems like less has been more when it comes to having success at the plate this season.

When injuries to Franklin Gutierrez and Michael Saunders left the Mariners low on outfielders, Ibanez was needed for a much larger role than initially expected and the results weren't pretty. He was in a 1-for-23 slump and hitting .148 when Saunders finally returned and gave manager Eric Wedge more options.

Since then, Ibanez has hit .400 in limited duty, with a double, triple and home run in 10 at-bats, including a critical three-run blast in Friday's 6-3 win over the A's.

Thus, Wedge had the 40-year-old back in the lineup Saturday against another right-hander in Jarrod Parker, but will bring Jason Bay back on Sunday against southpaw Tommy Milone.

"We were forced to play everybody just a little bit too much early on there and I think that worked against us a little bit," Wedge said prior to Saturday's game. "But we were able to get Jason going a little bit and I feel like he's in a pretty good place, and I'd like to do the same thing with Raul.

"We'll get Jason back in there tomorrow. Just trying to run that balance. But obviously Raul had a big hit for us last night and has been swinging the bat better in BP, and the double the other night. This was a good chance to get him back in there."

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.