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06/23/09 8:20 PM ET

Ibanez's strained groin feeling better

Phils slugger remains hopeful he can return by July 3

ST. PETERSBURG -- Raul Ibanez has been on the disabled list for five days, but he said it has felt like an eternity.

The good news is that Ibanez's strained left groin feels much better, and he remains hopeful he can rejoin the team July 3, the earliest date he can be activated.

"It feels way better," Ibanez said Tuesday.

Ibanez took batting practice on the field before Tuesday's series opener against the Rays at Tropicana Field, and he has also begun to run.

Ibanez tried to test the groin by swinging harder than he typically swings during batting practice, and he said it felt fine.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.