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Striking out at high rate early, Ibanez gets day off

Striking out at high rate early, Ibanez gets day off

HOUSTON -- Of Raul Ibanez's 16 plate appearances with the Angels, one has resulted in a home run, two have been singles, none have been walks and nine have been strikeouts. Ibanez isn't necessarily a high-strikeout guy, as evidenced by the fact that 121 players punched out at a higher rate from 2003-13. But he led the Majors through the first five days.

The 41-year-old thinks he knows exactly what's wrong.

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"I've been stepping and swinging at the same time, instead of striding to hit," said Ibanez, who sat on Saturday with a lefty on the mound for the Astros and a day game on Sunday. "It's a step and a hit at the same time. I think that causes a lack of recognition. But it's like everything else. You go through spurts. It goes like this now, and then maybe you don't strike out for a week. Yesterday I was encouraged that I was able to barrel up three balls hard in one game."

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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