By Dan Connolly
The Baltimore Sun
3:58 PM EDT, June 13, 2013
Triple-A Norfolk first baseman Travis Ishikawa, who was named the Orioles’ organizational player of the month for May, has asked through his representation for an early opt-out of his contract, but it has not been granted.
He can officially opt-out of his minor league deal after Saturday – and that almost certainly will happen. The 29-year-old left-handed hitter was not in Thursday’s lineup for the Tides.
“We had requested to their front office that if they weren’t going to call him up, we’d like to exercise the out a few days early, but they haven’t granted that,” said Ishikawa’s agent, Jim McDowell. “So he is in a holding period right now. Potentially, they could make a trade before Saturday or call him up.”
Ishikawa is batting .316 with seven homers, 31 RBIs and a .939 on-base-plus slugging percentage in 49 games. He was the organization’s hitter of the month for May when he batted .413 with all seven homers in 21 games during the month.
But he is behind big league home run leader Chris Davis at first base, and the Orioles seem content with using multiple players at designated hitter, including Steve Pearce, Chris Dickerson, Danny Valencia and the injured Nolan Reimold, among others. So it seems like a real long shot that Ishikawa will be called up – meaning his time in the organization is ending.
“From our standpoint, you can’t hit the ball better than this guy did in May,” McDowell said. “And if he hasn’t been called up in that period, then our assumption is it isn’t a fit. Part of the issue here, I think, is that Travis is left-handed and not right-handed and sometimes it comes down to things like that.”
McDowell said he hasn’t canvassed other teams, but given his client’s reputation as a strong defensive player, his current performance while getting extended time in Triple-A and his .264 career average in parts of five big league seasons, he believes there will be big league options available.
“He is just looking for a place to play in the majors,” McDowell said. “He is a good player.”
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