Giants call Ishikawa up to big-league roster Monday
June 13, 2008 · Updated 3:05 PM
By CASEY OLSON
Travis Ishikawa is officially a big leaguer.
The 2002 Federal Way High School graduate was called up by the San Francisco Giants Monday and joined the team for a series in Phoenix against the Arizona Diamondbacks, which started yesterday.
Ishikawa, a first baseman, was called up to spell Lance Niekro for several days while the regular Giants starter is on bereavement leave. He will return to the minor leagues when Niekro comes back to the team.
The 21-year-old Ishikawa was slated to play with the Double-A Connecticut Defenders in Reading, Pa., with family and friends attending, but the 6-foot-3, 210-pounder got a call late Sunday night to pack for a flight.
I was with family in Philadelphia for Easter and they said we need to know what airport youre flying out of, Ishikawa told MLB.com, at first thinking he was being promoted to Triple-A Fresno. After a while I said, Where are you sending me? (Giants Director of player personnel) Bobby Evans told me, Were taking you to the big leagues. You serious?
After getting the information from the Giants, Ishikawa called home to his parents, Susan and Alan, in Federal Way to tell them the news.
He called on the home phone and I wasnt feeling well and my husband was out doing something, so we just let the phone ring, Susan Ishikawa said. But then he called on the cell phone and when somebody calls the home phone and then the cell, its probably one of our kids. He told us and we didnt believe him at first, but he really deserves it.
Playing in the Major Leagues is the dream of any kid who ever picks up a glove and a bat and it was no different for Ishikawa.
I was having trouble breathing it was really exciting, said Ishikawa, who is hitting .323 with a home run and five RBIs in eight games this season with the Defenders.
I felt bad (about not going to Reading) for about half a second, he said. But Id rather be here. I didnt sleep much last night, but the last 24 hours the butterflies are going around.
Manager Felipe Alou said the Giants wanted a first baseman to replace Niekro, and while backup Mark Sweeney will start the next three games, Ishikawa will likely get some at-bats and play defense if necessary.
It would be nice for the kid to get a hit before he goes back to Double-A, said the manager. Basically it was a defensive move and to get 25 guys (on the Major League roster).
Ishikawa hit .222 in his first Cactus League spring training camp after connecting on 22 homers for Class A San Jose in 2005, helping the Giants capture the California League title.
Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, email@example.com