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BASEBALL: Ishikawa back in the minor leagues, Barnette on the disabled list
Federal Way High School graduate Travis Ishikawa is back playing minor league baseball. This time in the Baltimore Orioles' organization.
It's an unfamiliar spot for the 29-year-old Ishikawa, who has played a grand total of six seasons in Major League Baseball with the San Francisco Giants and Milwaukee Brewers.
But he's looking to get back into the Big Leagues with Baltimore and the first baseman is currently having a solid season for the AAA Norfolk Tides, hitting .290 with three home runs, 17 RBIs and eight doubles in 29 games.
Ishikawa signed a minor league contract with the Orioles during the offseason after playing for Milwaukee in 2012. The Brewers outrighted him to their Triple-A club following the season, but Ishikawa declined the assignment and became a free agent.
Last season, Ishikawa had a solid comeback season for Milwaukee after signing with the Brewers in December 2011. The 6-foot-3, 225-pounder didn’t play a single Major League game in 2011 after a shoulder injury while with San Francisco.
Ishikawa mostly served as a pinch-hitter and defensive replacement at first base for the Brewers. On the season, Ishikawa hit .257 with four home runs, 30 RBIs and 19 runs in 152 at bats.
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.
Tony Barnette on the disabled list in Japan
The Thomas Jefferson graduate, who is playing his fourth season for the Yakult Tokyo Swallows of Japan's Central League, is currently on the disabled list after suffering a strained oblique muscle.
Barnette had pitched in only six games this season for the Swallows. The right-hander was working as the team's closer and had five saves and a 7.50 earned-run average during in his six innings pitched before landing on the disabled list. He went on the disabled list on April 18 and should be activated soon, according to the team's website.
Before the 2013 season, Barnette inked a two-year, $3.2 million contract to remain with the Swallows.
He was coming off his best season in 2012. Last year, Barnette saved 33 games with an impressive 1.82 ERA. The 29-year-old was voted into the Japan League all-star series. The Yokult Tokyo Swallows finished 68-65 and in third place in the Central League.
The team is currently in fourth place in the Central League this year with a 36-18 record.
Barnette originally signed a one-year deal with the Swallows on Jan. 7, 2010, after a steady rise through the minor league system of the Arizona Diamondbacks' organization.
The Diamondbacks drafted the right-handed pitcher in the 10th-round in 2006 following a stellar career at Arizona State University. He started out in rookie ball in 2006, pitched in the Single-A Midwest League in 2007, the Double-A Southern League in ‘08 and spent the entire 2009 season playing for the Reno Aces of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League.
Barnette finished 14-8 with a 5.79 earned-run average for Reno in 2009 before inking with the Swallows during the offseason.
In 2010, his first year in Japan, he was just 4-5 with a 5.99 ERA. He gave up 99 hits in 79 innings and struck out 70, mostly as a starter.
In 2011, Barnette made the move into the Swallows' bullpen and had an impressive year. He turned into one of the best set-up relievers in the league, notching 22 holds and two saves and had a solid 2.68 ERA in 48 games. He allowed only 43 hits in 47 innings pitched and struck out 54.
After graduating from TJ in 2002, Barnette moved on to pitch at Central Arizona Community College before a two-year stint at Arizona State, where he pitched at the 2005 College World Series.