SAN FRANCISCO -- Travis Ishikawa has 10 hits in 36 at-bats in his current rehab stint with Triple-A Sacramento and said his "swing’s finally getting to where I like it."
"I haven’t quite hit a home run yet," he said. "But I’ve never really been a big home run guy."
Ishikawa said this sitting at his AT&T Park locker Tuesday -- just before the Giants were to hand out a bobblehead of Ishikawa commemorating his pennant-clinching home run in last year’s NLCS.
It remains, though, that Ishikawa feels healthy and said that he’s "anxiously waiting for Saturday to get here." That marks the end of Ishikawa’s rehab assignment -- his second already this spring. He had a back strain, then suffered a setback in April.
Ishikawa has been playing nearly every day for the River Cats, mostly at first base, with one start in left field. He said he’s scheduled for two more outfield starts before Saturday. He has been given no indication of the Giants’ plans for him after his rehab ends, but said he is open -- eager, even -- to return to the bench role he played for them last season.
"Absolutely," he said. "That’s a role I’ve kind of adopted since 2010. If I’m not going to be an everyday guy, I want to be the best pinch-hitter in the league … If that’s what they ask of me to help the club win, that’s what I want to do."
The Giants will have a decision to make. To make room for Ishikawa on the major-league roster they would have to send out one of their current bench players, of whom Matt Duffy is the only one with options remaining (Andrew Susac too, but he’s their only backup catcher). Duffy, though, has been a notable contributor. Ishikawa is out of options, so if the Giants did not bring him aboard they would have to designate him for assignment and hope he clears waivers to they could send him to the minors.
The River Cats had a day game in Albuquerque on Tuesday, but Ishikawa was scheduled to be off, so he returned to San Francisco to check in with the Giants. It just so happens he’s in town for his first bobblehead night.
“I’ll have to see if I can find a couple to sneak home,” he said.
* As for the Giants’ injured pitchers, manager Bruce Bochy said both Matt Cain and Jake Peavy threw bullpen sessions Tuesday. Cain’s next step is to throw breaking balls on flat ground, Bochy said, while Peavy could make a rehab start soon with High-A San Jose.
* Tuesday marks the return of Hunter Pence to AT&T Park -- his first home game since Game 5 of the World Series. Bochy said he expects Pence to be excited. As for whether Pence has any restrictions still coming back from his fractured forearm, Bochy said: "No, he’s good to go. That’s over."
"The only reason he was off yesterday is we were off," Bochy said. "If we’d have played, he’d have played. He’s good to go."
Pence is batting sixth tonight, behind first baseman Brandon Belt, but Bochy said that’s because he didn’t want to shuffle the lineup after the Giants’ offensive outburst against the Reds in Cincinnati. Bochy expects Pence to move back up in the lineup Wednesday.
Since returning, Pence is 4-for-8 with a home run and five runs scored.
"He came out of the barn with his heels kicking," Bochy said. "It’s pretty fun to watch."
* The Giants’ lineup for tonight’s series opener against the Dodgers:
And the Dodgers’ lineup:
LF Van Slyke