Raul Ibanez, signed before Spring Training to be the New York Yankees left-handed hitting designated hitter in 2012, has only two measly hits in 37 at-bats this spring, an average of .054. You never want to over-react to Spring Training, especially with veteran players, but the 39-year-old Ibanez is coming off a 2011 season that was his worst since 2001, having hit just .245 with a .289 on-base percentage.
Still, the early results have to raise the question. Did the Yankees make a mistake signing Ibanez and spurning former Yankee Johnny Damon, who desperately wanted the job and is coming off a year where he hit .261 with 16 homers, 73 RBI and a .326 on-base percentage? Damon, incidentally, is still without a job.
Until he proves otherwise, there will be concern that Ibanez' awful start is evidence that he is no longer a productive hitter. Whatever else he might be, Damon can still hit.
The Yankees won't panic at this point and reach out to Damon. All they can really do is hope Ibanez is just struggling to find his stroke, and that he will hit his stride over the next 10 days or so.
So. Yankee fans. How worried are you about Ibanez' spring struggles?