Ibanez, Nix return to the Bronx with Royals

Ibanez, Nix return to the Bronx with Royals

NEW YORK -- The Royals made their first trip to Yankee Stadium this season on Friday night, but for Raul Ibanez and Jayson Nix, it also brought back a few memories and an opportunity to catch up with some familiar faces.

Ibanez and Nix, who was claimed off waivers from the Pirates to provide infield depth, were teammates in 2012 with the Yankees and gained some playoff experience together, something the Royals don't have too much of on their roster.

"It's definitely nice being back," said Nix, who also played in pinstripes in 2013. "I really enjoyed my time here. I have some good friends over there that I'm excited to see."

Nix hit .239 in his two years as a role player for the Yankees and will be another versatile bench player as the season winds down for the Royals, who have already used him at first base.

Ibanez, 42, has already had a few reunions at Yankee Stadium since leaving, once with the Mariners last season and this past April with the Angels. But the veteran is excited to come back to Yankee Stadium this time with his team in the thick of the playoff race.

"Being able to play meaningful games in September this season is why you play baseball," said Ibanez, looking forward to celebrating with Derek Jeter on Sunday. "Coming in here, both teams needing to win games, it's going to be a fun series."

In his lone season in New York, Ibanez hit .240 with 19 home runs and 62 RBIs, though his biggest contribution came in the playoffs, which included game-tying and walk-off home runs against the Orioles in the American League Division Series.

"You always want to go and say hello to your former teammates, guys that you respect and guys that you've known for a long time," said Ibanez. "It's definitely one of the really fun things about the game and about playing for a while. You have friends everywhere. Getting to see those people is special."

Jake Kring-Schreifels is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.