The Phillies introduced Raul Ibanez this afternoon at Citizens Bank Park.
Here is some of what he said:
On being 36 years old and being able to maintain his productivity throughout the length of his contract: "I love hearing it. It's one of the things I enjoy because I know that I can continue to be productive. I know this. The good Lord has blessed me with ability. He's blessed me with what I believe to be an incredible work ethic, and an incredible drive to attempt to succeed no matter what. So I think I can continue doing this for a while. As a man I couldn't have come here unless I was able to do that."
On if he feels fresher because he didn't become an everyday player until he turned 30 in 2002 with the Kansas City Royals: "That's exactly how I feel about it. That's exactly how I felt when I was 30. Guys kept telling me, 'Wait until you're 30. You can't train that hard when you're 30.' Then I heard, 'When you hit 35, those day games after night games are going to be killers.' So, finally, I talked to Edgar Martinez about it. I said, 'Edgar, what is this thing about 35. Everyone talks about 35. What is this? At 35 I feel just as the same as I did when I was 30.' ... Edgar said to me in his super wise way -- it's like going to Yoda, you know? -- he said, 'That's for the guys that don't work as hard as we do.' He told me his best years were after 35. His best year was when he was 37."
On his success last season against lefthanded pitching, which is relevant because he fits in the middle of a lineup that includes Chase Utley and Ryan Howard: "I think I've always had quality at-bats against lefthanded pitching. But last year I did implement more into my routine, seeing lefthanded breaking balls. I did do that more. I have a cage in my house and I spent time hitting off of a breaking ball machine a little more."
On his defense: "I hope people will be pleasantly surprised. I think in this game you get a label and it's very difficult to shake that lable. People will come up with whatever formula they can to try to prove that label."
On if he has heard how tough Philly fans can be: "I've heard that before. Everyone has heard that. It's irrelevant. I'm here to help the club win. No matter what, however accountable they're going to hold me, I'm going to hold myself 10 times more accountable than that. Being held accountable is not a bad thing."
On if he cared to make a statement about the Phillies-Mets rivalry after Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez called the Mets the team to beat (never hurts to ask, right): "I'm sorry. I'm a pretty boring guy."