Phillies' Manuel: Ibanez's age is just a number

Phillies left fielder Raul Ibanez is hitting .169 so far this season. (Matt York/AP Photo)
Phillies left fielder Raul Ibanez is hitting .169 so far this season. (Matt York/AP Photo)
Posted: April 30, 2011

Raul Ibanez remained in the Phillies lineup Friday night despite a .169 batting average and an 0-for-26 slump that included a hitless seven-game road trip. (Ibanez went 0 for 4 in the game, and his average dropped to .161.)

Whenever a player of an advanced age - Ibanez is 38 and a little more than a month from 39 - struggles, it's natural to wonder whether his problems are simply a by-product of getting old.

Asked about this issue, manager Charlie Manuel had an amusing answer.

"I wrote Julio Franco off three times - and he played another 15 years," Manuel said.

Franco, one of the five players traded from the Phillies to the Cleveland Indians for Von Hayes in 1982, finally retired at age 48 after the 2007 season, although Manuel isn't sure he believes that.

"You might want to check to see if he's not playing in Mexico or Japan or Korea or something," the manager said of Franco.

- Bob Brookover

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