Raul Ibañez has had a brutal spring, but he slammed a two-run home run off Detroit's Max Scherzer Saturday, giving the veteran designated hitter a boost.

"It's one at-bat, but the feel today was much better than it has been," said Ibañez, who is 3-for-40 (.075) this spring. "Today felt a lot better.

"It felt good. It felt good to be able to make a left turn (to go around the bases) instead of a right turn (toward the dugout)."

"It's good for him to get that hit like that for us, drive the ball like he's capable of doing," added Joe Girardi. "It's good to see — you see a guy (exhale) a little bit, so it's good."

Since the Yankees are facing Tigers lefthander Duane Below Sunday in Tampa, the lefty-hitting Ibañez won't play in the regular game, Girardi said. Instead, Ibañez will play in a game at the Yanks' minor-league complex, where the action is controlled and Ibañez can bat multiple times, even if it's out of turn.

"I told him to get as many as he wants, so he's going to go down there," Girardi said.

It's clear to the manager that Ibañez, an affable fellow who's had a long, successful career, was pressing over his spring struggles with his new club.