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Originally published December 30, 2013 at 7:03 PM | Page modified December 30, 2013 at 10:32 PM

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Raul Ibanez, former Mariner, sounds eager to hit for Los Angeles Angels

Former Mariner Raul Ibanez, 41, said he can’t wait to suit up for the Los Angeles Angels.


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Baseball

Ibanez is eager to hit for Angels

Although most visiting hitters have little love for Angel Stadium, Raul Ibanez says he can’t wait to suit up for the home team.

Ibanez, who hit 29 home runs for the Mariners last season, agreed to a one-year, $2.75 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels earlier this month. The 41-year-old proclaimed his excitement Monday to play in the Angels’ pitcher-friendly ballpark with its big outfield, high right-field wall and ever-present marine layer.

“I just feel very comfortable there,” said Ibanez, a career .349 hitter at the Big A. “It goes back to ’97, ’98 ... and I just loved the background. I see the ball really well there. I like the fact it’s got nice, wide-open gaps. The ball moves well on the grass. I really enjoy hitting there, and I always have. I’ve always said it’s my favorite city to spend time (in) on the road.”

Ibanez, who could earn another $2.25 million in incentives, is likely to be a regular designated hitter for the Angels, who traded slugger Mark Trumbo to Arizona.

“If I didn’t know I could perform at a high level, then I wouldn’t even play the game,” Ibanez said. “I fully expect to contribute to this team and contribute to the winning tradition here.”

Ibanez and his wife, Tery, are so eager to get started in Orange County they are planning to pull their kids out of school in the Seattle area, home schooling them while the family gets situated.

Auto racing

Schumacher ‘fighting for his life’

Retired driver Michael Schumacher, who won a record seven Formula One championships, is “fighting for his life” with brain injuries suffered Sunday when he hit his head on a rock in a skiing accident in the French Alps, doctors said Monday.

Doctors said it was too early to know if Schumacher, a 44-year-old German, would survive or what the extent of his injuries might be. He has been placed in a medically induced coma to relieve pressure on his brain.

“Unfortunately, he had some lesions to his brain when he came in, he had some diffuse injuries to his brain, but we can’t really say what the outcome will be,” Jean-Francois Payen, an anesthesiologist who is leading Schumacher’s medical team at the Grenoble University Hospital Center, said at a news conference.

“He’s in a critical situation, and we can say he’s fighting for his life.”

Schumacher, who has a reputation as an accomplished skier, reportedly was wearing a helmet when he fell.

“Without a helmet, he wouldn’t be here now,” Payen said.

Tennis

Sharapova returns to action

Every point mattered for fourth-ranked Maria Sharapova in her competitive comeback from injury, even in a first-round match in the season-opening Brisbane International in Australia.

Sharapova beat 74th-ranked Caroline Garcia of France 6-3, 6-0.

The four-time major winner played one match after an early exit at Wimbledon last season caused by a right-shoulder injury. Russian Sharapova, 26, showed no signs of soreness.

Meanwhile, at the Hopman Cup in Perth, Australia, Sloane Stephens and John Isner combined to give the United States a 3-0 victory over Spain.

Long-track speedskating

Cliff-Ryan suffers injuries

Olympic hopeful Theresa Cliff-Ryan was injured when she landed on her head after being struck on the sideline by a crashing Kevin Geminder at practice, likely ending her quest to make the team for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Cliff-Ryan, 35, suffered a concussion and had several teeth knocked out, according to her coach, Matt Kooreman, who added she was lucky the injuries weren’t more serious.

“No long term debilitating brain or neck injuries — which was initially feared,” he wrote in a text message to The Associated Press.

Elsewhere

Anderson Silva had surgery Sunday on his broken left leg, and his doctor believes the former UFC middleweight champion could fight again after the grotesque injury.

Silva, 38, broke his tibia and fibula when he kicked the knee of 185-pound champion Chris Weidman on Saturday night, abruptly ending their rematch early in the second round at UFC 168 in Las Vegas.

Dr. Steven Sanders, the UFC’s orthopedic surgeon, said Silva — who is eager to return to the octagon — could conceivably be back in the gym training in six months.

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