Programming note: For complete coverage of the Giants-Pirates Wild Card game, tune in to October Quest at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, 4 p.m. Wednesday and following the game on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.
PITTSBURGH – Hey Travis Ishikawa, what if I told you on Opening Day, when you were starting at first base for the Pirates, that you’d be back here at PNC Park, wearing a Giants uniform again for the first time in four years, playing against your current teammates in an NL Wild Card elimination game?
“Yeah,” said Ishikawa, finishing the improbable inquiry, “all that, and I’d probably be an outfielder, too.
“If you told me that, I’d have called you crazy.”
That’s exactly what will happen on Wednesday. The Pirates designated Ishikawa for assignment on April 19 after acquiring first baseman Ike Davis, the Giants came calling with a Triple-A offer, Ishikawa made it back to the majors at the end of July while Brandon Belt was on the concussion DL, and he turned himself into a vital piece.
He had played a total of 3.2 innings in the outfield, in 2012 with the Milwaukee Brewers, and had never played left field in the majors before the Giants got desperate enough to put him there in late September. He has looked so comfortable in eight games (three starts) that he’ll start in left field against Pirates right-hander Edinson Volquez in the win-or-go-home game.
Ishikawa’s experience with the Pirates clearly motivated him – to beat them whenever he got the chance.
“All I could think about was getting back up here and playing against those guys,” Ishikawa said. “Hopefully I can make them think twice about the decision they made about me. I understand they did things to try to make their team better, and I understand the business side. I’m sure it will feel good if we celebrate Wednesday night over them.”