Sports

Ishikawa ready for opening day with the San Francisco Giants

Federal Way High School grad Travis Ishikawa looks like he will start the season as the San Francisco Giants
Federal Way High School grad Travis Ishikawa looks like he will start the season as the San Francisco Giants' backup first baseman and outfielder. Ishikawa came into spring training with foot problems.
— image credit: File photo

Travis Ishikawa didn’t get off to a very good start to the 2010 Major League Baseball season. The Federal Way High School graduate arrived at the San Francisco Giants’ spring training last month with a badly sprained left foot.

Ishikawa suffered two partially torn ligaments under his big toe in late January when he fell at his home and wasn’t able to get in the Giants’ spring training lineup until March 20.

Since then, the first baseman is currently hitting .222 in 11 spring training games. He has six hits and two RBIs and has struck out nine times in 27 at bats.

It’s a far cry from his stellar spring training last year, when he hit .302 with seven home runs and 17 RBIs. The impressive 2009 spring training earned Ishikawa the everyday first base job for San Francisco. The 6-foot-3, 225-pounder responded by hitting .261 with nine home runs and 39 RBIs in 120 regular season games.

While Ishikawa is still confident he’ll be ready for the start of the Giants’ regular season, he freely admits that he currently has some limitations.

“Defensively, I can’t drive off that foot to get the ball in the hole,” said Ishikawa. “But I think they know what I can do.”

He is also not assured of an everyday role at first base and hopes to make San Francisco’s roster as a bench player. The Giants signed free agent Aubrey Huff in the offseason to take over at first base. Manager Bruce Bochy said Ishikawa has a shot to earn a bench job even though he, like Huff, is left-handed. Ishikawa’s superior glove and his .349 average at San Francisco’s AT&T Park last season left a strong impression.

“You saw what he did at home,” Bochy told MLB.com. “He’s a threat. He’s shown what he can do to win a game, with his defense or by hitting a ball out of the ballpark.”

Ishikawa is out of minor league options and could be lost on a waiver claim if he isn’t on the Giants’ Opening Day roster.

He has even started playing a little left field during spring training. Ishikawa had not in the outfield since rookie ball eight years ago.

“I won’t make a lot of web gems,” he said. “But I’ll make the routine plays.”

The Giants open the 2010 regular season on the road against the Houston Astros on Monday.

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