Area minor leaguers cruise through the summer

First baseman Travis Ishikawa’s days as a member of the Double-A Connecticut Defenders have likely reached an end.

The first baseman, on the disabled list since June 16 after cutting open his right knee making a sliding catch, has been sent to Single-A San Jose to continue his rehabilitation. Once activated, Ishikawa will likely be assigned to Triple-A Fresno, according to Defenders skipper Dave Machemer.

“When his rehab is done, he’s going to get a shot to go to Fresno and play some there,” Machemer said. “A change of scenery.”

Ishikawa was struggling at the plate for the Defenders before cutting his knee. The first baseman was hitting just .214 in 48 games. Ishikawa had three doubles, one triple, three home runs and 17 RBIs.

It’s still up in the air when Ishikawa will be activated and added to Fresno’s roster. But he won’t be playing in Tacoma any time soon. The Fresno Grizzlies are not scheduled to play against the Rainiers in Tacoma again this season.

“Travis has all the ability in the world,” said San Francisco farm director Jack Hiatt. “He just has moments of doubt like all hitters do. Some of us felt he needed a challenge and that’s what he’ll get. He has a chance to make a believer out of people.”

During his rehab assignment in San Jose, Ishikawa has been having a little easier time with the pitching. He is hitting .322 in 23 games with nine doubles, three home runs and 15 RBIs.

Ishikawa was drafted in the 21st round by the Giants after his senior year at Federal Way. He signed for a bonus of nearly $1 million.

During his five-year minor league baseball career, Ishikawa has earned a coveted spot within the Giants’ organization. Before last season he was placed on San Francisco’s 40-man roster, which includes all 25 of the players on the Giants’ big-league roster, plus players in the minor leagues who are paid Major League salaries. The distinction makes Ishikawa eligible to be called up to the Giants’ Major League roster at any time, which is exactly what happened last season.

Ishikawa spent three separate stints with the Giants last year. In his 12 Major League games, Ishikawa hit an impressive .292 in 24 at bats. He also scored one run, had three doubles, a triple and four RBIs.

Other Federal Way grads in the minor leagues:

Brady Everett — The Federal Way graduate is third on the Burlington Bees in hitting during the 2007 season. The catcher, who played at Edmonds Community College, Clemson and Washington State, is hitting .300 in 72 games. Everett has scored 38 runs, leads the team with 22 doubles, and has two triples, eight home runs and 36 RBIs.

Burlington is the Class A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals and plays in the Midwest League. Burlington is located in Iowa. Everett was the Royals’ 15th round selection in the 2005 draft out of Washington State. He was a first-team, All-Pac 10 catcher his senior year for the Cougars after hitting .340 with 15 home runs and 62 RBIs.

Everett also played at Burlington last year, where he hit .256 in 86 games with 40 runs, 13 doubles, five home runs and 22 RBIs.

Shea McFeely and Tony Barnette — The pair are both playing the season with the South Bend Silver Hawks in Indiana.

The Silver Hawks are classified as a low-Class A minor league affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks and play in the Midwest League. McFeely is a graduate of Federal Way High School and Barnette went to TJ.

Both McFeely and Barnette were drafted by the Diamondbacks last year after stellar careers playing baseball in the Pac-10 Conference — Barnette in the 10th round and McFeely in the 29th. Barnette played at Arizona State and McFeely played for the national champion Oregon State Beavers.

McFeely, an infielder, is hitting .234 in 55 games with 26 runs, eight doubles, four home runs and 14 RBIs.

Barnette, a right-handed pitcher, is having a very strong season for the Silver Hawks. He is currently 6-7 with a 3.69 earned-run average in 18 starts. He has thrown 117 innings and has allowed 117 hits.

Barnette was selected to play in the 2007 Midwest League all-star game on June 19 in Geneva, Ill.

“He is very intense and he is going to come right at you, Haley said. “(Tony) played for Pat Murphy at Arizona State so you know he is going to be very intense.”

Andrew Conklin — The Federal Way graduate signed with the Baltimore Orioles on May 31 after his sophomore season at South Mountain Community College in Arizona. Conklin, a right-handed pitcher, is currently pitching on Baltimore’s rookie league team in the Gulf Coast League. Conklin threw 4.1 scoreless innings, giving up three hits, during a 3-0 win over the Minnesota Twins’ Rookie League team on July 13. He is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA.

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