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Ibanez looks to be more than just a DH

Ibanez looks to be more than just a DH play video for Ibanez looks to be more than just a DH

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Raul Ibanez, turning 42 on June 2, still is not sure how much longer he wants to play this game.

"I don't really think about it," he said. "I try to focus on the day to day. It's a gift. That's how I look at it.

"But not too many more."

Can this be the last one?

"We'll talk at the end of the year," Ibanez said, grinning. "If we can win a World Series, then we'll talk."

For now, Ibanez is focused on being more than just a designated hitter for the Angels. That is what he signed up for with the Yankees in 2012 and with the Mariners in 2013, then ultimately played a combined 1,483 1/3 innings in the outfield.

The Angels have plenty of outfield coverage, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia has stressed that he wants versatility out of Ibanez, who needs to be able to fill in at left field and is a potential emergency option at first base -- a position at which Ibanez has not started since 2005.

"I'm ready for whatever," Ibanez said. "You train in the offseason to be an athlete, not to be a DH, so you have to be ready to do anything."

Ibanez slumped to a .203/.295/.345 slash line in the second half last year, but he will tell you that had nothing to do with the 832 1/3 innings he spent in Seattle's outfield. In fact, he believes it was taking a break that hurt him.

"I was the only guy, maybe in all of baseball, that didn't want the All-Star break to come, because I felt so good," Ibanez said.

"I'm not going to attribute it to anything other than I wasn't good in the second half. That's it. If you do that when you're 40, people say you wore down. If you do that when you're 25, they say, 'Oh, the league figured him out, and he'll adjust.'"

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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