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In a crunch, Ibanez could fill in at catcher

In a crunch, Ibanez could fill in at catcher

ANAHEIM -- Manager Eric Wedge hasn't faced the situation yet and hopes it never comes up, but if the Mariners needed an emergency third catcher to step in on his current roster he said he'd probably ask veteran outfielder Raul Ibanez.

Ibanez, 40, has played one game behind the plate in his 18-year Major League career, that coming in 1999 during his first stint with the Mariners.

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"I haven't proclaimed anybody yet, but Raul is probably the first guy that comes to mind," Wedge said when asked Wednesday. "We've joked about it here from time to time. That's probably where we're at."

The Mariners have been splitting catching duties between Jesus Montero and Kelly Shoppach, with Shoppach getting his second straight start Wednesday.

"Shoppy has done a pretty good job with the running game this year," Wedge said. "The way these guys run, I wanted to get him back in there again today."

If Montero was playing designated hitter as he did last year, a third catcher might be of more critical need. The Mariners went with three catchers last year when Montero was DHing on a regular basis. But Kendrys Morales has filled that role this year and Montero is strictly catching.

As for Ibanez strapping on the gear if needed?

"Raul is in better shape than anybody anyway," Wedge said with a chuckle.

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.

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