Ishikawa signs with Giants


Sports editor

Travis Ishikawa was in bed, but he wasn’t dreaming when his Reno, Nev., hotel room phone rang in the early hours Tuesday morning.

It was his agent, Jim McDowell, calling from Southern California to inform him that he had a contract to sign with Major League Baseball’s San Francisco Giants.

“When I first heard it, it didn’t really sink in,” Ishikawa said. “I was half asleep and it took me a little longer to compute what he was saying. Then the more I thought about it, the more excited I became. I thought back to when I was a child and dreamed of playing pro baseball. Now it’s my job to play baseball, even though it’s something that I’ve always done.”

Ishikawa, a 2002 Federal Way High School graduate, was in Reno playing in a tournament with his American Legion summer team. It was his final game with his high school teammates. Tomorrow night, Ishikawa leaves for Phoenix, Ariz., to jump into the middle of the season with the club’s rookie-league team.

“I’ll be a little timid at first,” Ishikawa said. “I’ve never had that before, playing on a team that I didn’t know anybody. I’ll make some friends and work from there.”

He could move up to the club’s single A farm team in Salem, Ore., possibly as soon as next week.

“It could be a couple days, it could be two weeks, it could be next year,” said Matt Woodward, a scout for the Giants who signed Ishikawa.

Ishikawa received a $955,000 signing bonus and gets a salary of $855 per month while he plays at the single A level, with the chance to earn more if he moves up. He said he hasn’t thought of anything he needs to buy right now.

The 6-foot-3, 195 pound first baseman was drafted by the Giants in the 21st round of Major League Baseball’s June amateur draft. He was the 637th pick overall.

“We liked pretty much everything about him,” Woodward said. “He can hit, he can hit for power, he can run, he plays a great first base. He has a certain confidence out there at the plate that you can tell something good is going to happen. It was great being able to take him in the draft. Anytime you can get a player like Travis, it’s outstanding.”

While playing for state runnerup Federal Way this season, Ishikawa earned South Puget Sound League co-MVP honors and hit .415 with nine home runs, seven doubles, one triple, 31 walks (nine intentional) and 15 stolen bases. He only struck out eight times.

He also was a co-recipient of the Mirror’s Students of Distinction Athlete of the Year award.

Ishikawa had signed a letter of intent to accept a scholarship to Oregon State University, but has decided to pursue a pro career instead. The Giants will pay him $11,000 per year in tuition if he decides to attend college when he’s finished with baseball. He graduated from Federal Way with a cumulative 3.93 grade point average.

But in the near future, Ishikawa faces his first summer of hard work, hot sun and minor league baseball.

“It’s a lot of bus rides and a lot of fun,” said Wood

Sports editor Cole Cosgrove can be reached at 925-5565 and

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