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'Boo' or 'Raul?' Ibanez knows the difference

NEW YORK -- Raul Ibanez was a hero for the Yankees in the 2012 postseason, when his two late home runs beat the Orioles in Game 3 of the American League Division Series. So yes, he was cheered when he first came to the plate as a visiting Mariner this week at Yankee Stadium.

But by the time Ibanez belted his third home run in the first two games of the series with his former team, the "Raaauuull" was turning to "booo," though perhaps those were directed more at Yankees pitchers than the 40-year-old outfielder.

Either way, Ibanez wasn't fazed.

"You can't expect them to cheer when you're on the other team," he said. "I'm very appreciative of that. I had a great time when I played here, now my job is to try to beat them."

As for the confusion between his name and "boo?"

"I didn't want to say anything because I don't want it to get louder," Ibanez said with a grin. "I can't tell that much of a difference. But when you hear it, depending on how you're doing, yeah, you know."

Ibanez has hit nine home runs in his last 11 games at Yankee Stadium, which didn't make it hard for manager Eric Wedge to pencil him into the lineup again Thursday. Ibanez was at designated hitter, with Kendrys Morales playing first base instead of Justin Smoak.

"That's just keeping Ibanez playing in this ballpark," Wedge said. "I wanted to play them all, but you can't do that. It's just to keep Raul in there. He's always thrived here, so you roll with it."

Ibanez has talked of the short right-field porch and various things at Yankee Stadium, but says he doesn't spend too much time figuring out why he's hit so well here.

"It's definitely a nice background," he said. "But I've been feeling better at the plate the last week or so, and it's carried over."

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog.
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