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BASEBALL: Ishikawa signs minor league deal with the Baltimore Orioles
Federal Way High School graduate Travis Ishikawa signed a minor league contract with the Baltimore Orioles Wednesday, according to the Baltimore Sun.
After a solid season for the Milwaukee Brewers, the first baseman was outrighted to their Triple-A club Nashville, last month. Ishikawa declined the assignment and became a free agent.
The Orioles’ starting first baseman from a season ago, Mark Reynolds, signed with Cleveland earlier in the week. It looks like Ishikawa will be competing with veteran Chris Davis for the starting first baseman role. Davis hit .270 with 33 home runs and 85 RBIs last year, playing mostly as an outfielder.
Ishikawa, 29, had a solid comeback season for Milwaukee in 2012. The 6-foot-3, 225-pounder didn’t play a single Major League game in 2011 after a shoulder injury.
Ishikawa mostly served as a pinch-hitter and defensive replacement at first base for the Brewers after coming off the disabled list on June 25 after being sidelined for over a month with a left oblique strain.
The injury was a heart-breaker for Ishikawa. He had taken over as the Brewers’ starting first baseman after the team’s previous starter, Mat Gamel, suffered a torn ACL in his knee May 2 while chasing down a foul ball.
Ishikawa had played in 18 of the Brewers’ 21 games during the month of May before suffering the oblique injury. The 2002 Federal Way grad had a huge game during an 8-0 win over the New York Mets on May 15. Ishikawa was 3 for 4 with two home runs and five RBIs.
On the season, Ishikawa hit .257 with four home runs, 30 RBIs and 19 runs in 152 at bats.
The Brewers finished the season 83-79 and just five games back of the second wildcard berth from the National League.
After spending nine seasons with the San Francisco Giants, Ishikawa signed a minor league deal with the Brewers in December after shoulder surgery in June on his non-throwing arm. He suffered the injury while playing for the Fresno Grizzlies, the Giants’ AAA affiliate.
Ishikawa was hitting .251 with three home runs, 18 RBIs and 14 doubles in 56 games for the Grizzlies last season before the shoulder injury.
Ishikawa was a Giants’ draft pick out of Federal Way in 2002 and played 281 games for the team since 2006. He has a lifetime batting average of .264 with 19 home runs, 110 RBIs, 40 doubles in 740 at-bats for San Francisco and Milwaukee.
Ishikawa spent a bulk of the 2009 season as the Giants’ everyday first baseman after an impressive spring training. During that season, Ishikawa hit .261 with nine home runs and 39 RBIs in 120 regular season games.