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Ibanez honored in return to Seattle

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SEATTLE -- They still scream "Rauuuuuuuuuuuul" around these parts.

They chanted it before the pregame ceremonies, when the former Mariners outfielder and current Angels designated hitter was presented with the Hutch Award he earned for extensive community service. And they chanted it even louder when Raul Ibanez was introduced as part of the Angels' starting lineup before the first 2014 game at Safeco Field.

"I got to sleep in my own bed last night," said Ibanez, whose house is located roughly 30 minutes away from the Mariners' ballpark, on the east side of Seattle. "Getting to come back here a few times a year is a great thing."

Ibanez, 41, was drafted by the Mariners in the 36th round in 1992 and has spent 11 of his 19 seasons in Seattle, as part of three separate stints. He ranks sixth in franchise history in homers (156), RBIs (612) and hits (1,077), and hit 29 home runs this past season.

"I'm sure there's a lot of memories, but I come in here with a job to do," Ibanez said pregame. "So I don't really allow things to get all warm and fuzzy. I'm trying to win. I think of it more that way. I think there's plenty of time to reflect and get all warm and fuzzy over things when you're done playing."

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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