Angels' Ibanez, 41, still going strong

Thu Apr 24, 2014 3:31pm EDT
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By Steve Ginsburg

(Reuters) - At this late stage in Raul Ibanez's career, an All-Star season culminating in a World Series championship may be the only thing that could lure the 19-year major league veteran into retirement.

Then again, the affable Los Angeles Angels outfielder is having so much fun he just might stick around another season. Or three.

"I'm happy where I am with my life and my career," Ibanez told reporters recently in the Angels clubhouse. "Getting an opportunity to play Major League Baseball at 41 years of age on a great team is something that you don't see all the time.

"To have the opportunity to do that and play at the highest level at this stage of my life is a blessing and I'll keep fighting forward."

He's playing for his fourth team in the last four years but the left-hand swinging Ibanez still has his power stroke, having clubbed 51 homers since turning 40, including 29 with Seattle last year.

Ibanez was an All-Star with Philadelphia in 2009, the year the Phillies lost the World Series in six games to the New York Yankees. Though it was his best shot yet of getting the coveted ring, Ibanez chooses to be philosophical about the chance.

"I think about what a blessing it was to get that opportunity, to be there," he said. "But I don't think whether you get that opportunity or whether those things never happen for you are the things that define you.

"Your quest for excellence, your integrity, the way you go about your business and your passion, and your drive and your will and your determination - those are the things that define you as a man and a player.   Continued...

Mar 4, 2014; Tempe, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Angels outfielder Raul Ibanez runs the bases after hitting a home run against the Texas Rangers during a spring training game at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports - RTR3G1LR