WASHINGTON -- Raul Ibanez hasn't had a bunt single since 2003, but he remains determined to use the bunt as a weapon against the shift.
He's 0-for-2 so far, but isn't stopping.
"I worked on that in Spring Training," Ibanez said. "Yeah, I'm going to continue to do that. And hopefully I'll do it better, too. It kind of goes against every rule that you've ever learned about bunting, because you have to bunt it hard. I've got the right angle on it, but I keep catching it off the end of the bat, like you were taught coming up through the Minor Leagues."
Ibanez, batting .152/.211/.318 through his first 18 games, has only five bunt hits in his 19-year career, but wants to try it more frequently this season with third base completely open when he comes to bat -- both as a way to get on base and a mechanism to keep teams from over-shifting him towards right field.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia believes Ibanez has "a little too much touch" right now, but is fine with him continuing to try.
"If you're a golfer and you hit it 400 yards, doesn't mean you don't have to practice a sand wedge," Scioscia said. "There are things Raul will have to do in a game. If we need a baserunner in the eighth inning, and if he can just put the bunt down and walk to first base, that's a very high percentage play for him to get on base."
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.Less