To go far in the postseason, an MLB team must have solid starting pitching, a reliable bullpen, and options off the bench to pinch hit. Fortunately for the Pittsburgh Pirates, they are about to receive a man who is no stranger to producing in big moments, as Travis Ishikawa began a rehab stint with Triple-A Indianapolis this evening.
Ishikawa, who was claimed off of waivers from the San Francisco Giants on July 5, has been on the 15-day disabled list with a lower back strain since August 23.
Yet, the 31-year-old did not look like a hitter that is only hitting .222 (12 hits in 59 at bats) with one home run and eight RBIs in 33 Major League games, but the same player that plated seven runs and blasted the series-clinching home run off of Michael Wacha in last year's National League Championship Series versus the St. Louis Cardinals.
From the get-go, the Indianapolis Indians were seeing the ball very well off of Toledo Mud Hens' starter Luis Cessa, for the first two batters (Alen Hanson and Gorkys Hernandez) reached on hits. Next up was Ishikawa and he continued the trend by blasting an offering off the top of the right field wall for a two-RBI double that put his team on the board.
Later in the fourth inning, the Washington state native would smack another two bagger, this time down the left field line for his second hit of the game.
In addition to the rehabbing first baseman's impressive return to action (2-for-4, one run, one RBI), Pittsburgh prospects Alen Hanson and Josh Bell combined for three of the Indians' nine runs, while Vance Worley stifled the opposition by holding them to two runs in eight innings pitched.
Tomorrow, Travis Ishikawa will complete his rehab assignment in a battle of top pitching prospects as Louisville's Robert Stephenson will take the ball against Indianapolis' Tyler Glasnow.