The Orioles continued to add first base depth on Wednesday, signing Travis Ishikawa, as well as left-handed relievers Daniel Schlereth and Zach Braddock, to minor league contracts with invitations to major league spring training.
Ishikawa, 29, recorded a .257/.329/.428 line in 94 games (49 starts) last season with the Brewers, hitting four homers and 30 RBIs in 174 plate appearances. He spent the previous three seasons as a mostly part-time player with the Giants.
The left-handed hitting Ishikawa hit .266/.333/.416 and 18 of his 19 career homers against right-handed pitching. He also offers a solid glove at first, where he owns a career .995 fielding percentage.
Since non-tendering first baseman Mark Reynolds last month, the Orioles also signed first baseman Conor Jackson to a minor league deal with a spring training invite. With Reynolds gone – he signed with Cleveland this week – Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Chris Davis will have the opportunity to regain the starting first-base job this spring.
The 26-year-old Schlereth, a former first-round pick of the Diamondbacks in 2008, struck out 91 batters in 94 innings with Arizona and Detroit from 2009-2012 and has held left-handed hitters to a .213 batting average. Schlereth, the son of former NFL offensive lineman and current ESPN analyst Mark Schlereth, posted a 10.29 ERA in six appearances with the Tigers last season, battling shoulder tendinitis that kept him on the DL for most of the season.
After a rough start to the season, Schlereth was shelved with shoulder pain in May and was eventually transferred to the 60-day DL in June. He decided to rehab the injury instead of opting for surgery and ended the season pitching rehab games at Class-A Lakeland.
Braddock, 25, was 1-3 with a 4.41 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 2010 and 2011 with the Brewers, holding left-handed hitters to a .185 batting average.
He was released by Milwaukee in May after he was on the inactive list at Triple-A Nashville with undisclosed personal issues. Once seen as one of the Brewers' top pitching prospects -- he has a 2.94 ERA in 46 appearances in 2010 -- he was one of the team's final cuts last spring and soon after landed on the minor league inactive list. He spent time on the DL in 2011 with a sleep disorder.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun