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Oct. 10 Raul Ibanez postgame interview


Q. Raul, I'm sure as you're not starting the game, you're thinking about pinch‑hitter at some point.  Did you think it would be for Alex Rodriguez?

RAUL IBAÑEZ:  No, I did not think that.  I assumed something was going on or something when I was told that I was hitting second, and I asked one of the guys, I think it was Nuñez, and I asked who was hitting, and it was Alex, so I assumed something was going on.  I didn't know.  And then I just tried to get ready to hit.

Q.  Can I assume these are the second and third best things of the month after the birth of your child?

RAUL IBAÑEZ:  Yes.  Yes, it's been great.  I'm a very blessed man.  I have a healthy baby boy and my wife is healthy, my children are healthy, first and foremost, and then getting an opportunity to play for this great team, great franchise, and being in that situation and having it work out that way is a great blessing.

Q.  Obviously you didn't let it bother you in any way, but was it weird that you were going up there for one of the best hitters of all time?

RAUL IBAÑEZ:  Yeah, I mean, Alex is one of the best hitters of all time, and he still is.  I mean, he's one of the greatest players in the history of the game.  So for a minute I just thought something was going on, I didn't know what was happening, and then I just tried to put it behind me and get a good pitch to hit.

Q.  Just walk us through the two home runs, particularly the second one.  You haven't faced left‑handed pitching that much this year.

RAUL IBAÑEZ:  I was just trying to get a good pitch to hit, not trying to do too much, just trying to put a short swing on the first one, and it worked out.  I was able to get a good pitch and hit it hard.

And the second one, same thing, not trying to do too much.  I think the tendency late in the game when the game is tied is I think as players, we try to do a little too much, and I was trying to fight that feeling, trying not to do too much.  And fortunately it worked out.

Q.  Anything early in the count with the lefty, particularly with Matusz?

RAUL IBAÑEZ:  Yeah, I was just trying to get a good pitch to hit.  I don't even really remember what happened.  It was kind of a blur what happened.  I think sometime down the line I'll kind of remember it and recall it.  But I think I was just trying to get a good pitch to hit.

Q.  People talk a lot about, oh, it must be tough to sit around for eight innings and then come in and pinch‑hit.  Can you tell us what you do, going in the cage, taking some swings?

RAUL IBAÑEZ:  Yeah, it's definitely tough to be in that ‑‑ to pinch‑hit.  It's definitely tough, but yeah, you're definitely stretching, fourth, fifth, sixth inning you're already stretching, getting loose, going through routines, hitting balls off the tee, taking flips down in the cage, you know, watching video, trying to prepare for any scenario that may happen.  But a lot of times when you're pinch‑hitting, you're not ‑‑ pitching change comes and the guy that you thought you were going to face isn't the guy that you face.  At some point you just have to go up there and try to get a good pitch to hit.

Q.  Going back to Spring Training, you talked about coming to the Yankees and being a part of postseason wins and all that.  What is it like to not only be a part of a postseason win in this stadium for this team, but to be the guy that basically delivers that win?

RAUL IBAÑEZ:  Well, you know, watching the game and being a part of this great team with all these great players, Hall of Fame players, the thing that really sticks out to me from Spring Training is how mentally tough these guys are and what great teammates they are.  You know, I'll go one step beyond that and say that they're great people, too.

Being in that situation and being a part of something like this, this great team, and obviously all the legends that have come before you here is an extraordinary feeling, and it's a great blessing.  And then to be a part of something like that is definitely a special moment.

But at the same time, in baseball, it's moments ‑‑ we're talking about it now, but at some point you just have to try to focus on tomorrow, and tomorrow is another big game.

Q.  Can you describe what the last three weeks have been like for you, starting with the Oakland game, and does each time you come through in a big moment help you with the next one?

RAUL IBAÑEZ:  Yeah, I don't know what they've been like, really.  It's been a blur, obviously with the unexpected birth of my son while my wife is visiting from out of town and to be in the pennant race like this.  But I can tell you that this is a tremendous group of guys.  Watching Jeet grind through that game was inspiring, and the guy is obviously one of the greatest players in the history of the game.  But to watch him grind through stuff like that and see ‑‑ he's got the heart of a lie on ‑‑ is a great experience.

I don't even really remember the question, sorry.

Q.  Each time you come through with a big moment does that help you with the next one to come through?

RAUL IBAÑEZ:  Yeah, you know, you definitely try to draw on past experiences, you know, past successes, and you try to have a short memory about past failures, too.  They can be helpful, but at the same time each moment is different, and I'm just trying to stay in the moment and not think too far back and not think ahead at all, just trying to think ‑‑ just trying to focus on what my task is at that moment.

Q.  A lot of players think that you can either pinch‑hit or you can't, and some guys are really good at it and some guys are really bad at it.  Obviously you're a veteran with a lot of experience.  Do you subscribe to that theory?  Do you think there is something about having some experience, or do you think you're just sort of made to be able to do it well or not?

RAUL IBAÑEZ:  You know, I don't know.  I try not to think about it too much.  I try not to think about it very much.  I think if I start thinking about that, then I become aware of kind of the situations and scenarios that I can't control.  Again, I'm really just trying to stay in the moment and get a good pitch to hit, and I think at some point you can evaluate that, but the time to evaluate that ‑‑ which is a great question, by the way, but the time to evaluate that is after the season is over, and hopefully much later on next month or December.  But that's a great question.  I'm going to have to get back to you on it.  I'm just trying to focus on the moment.

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