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Ishikawa getting a fresh start with Seattle

MLB.com @sfgiantsbeat

SAN FRANCISCO -- Travis Ishikawa accomplished something last year that the Giants couldn't: He reached the postseason. And while Ishikawa didn't make the Pirates' 25-man roster for their Wild Card Game loss to the Cubs, he still featured quite prominently in October.

Ishikawa joined a cast of sluggers whose monumental home runs provided video for a thrilling montage that MLB Network aired to promote its postseason telecasts. Ishikawa's walk-off long ball for the Giants in Game 5 of the 2014 National League Championship Series appeared in a 61-second highlight sequence of similar homers hit by Carlton Fisk, David Freese, Joe Carter, George Brett, Jeff Kent, Reggie Jackson, Chris Chambliss, Derek Jeter, Ozzie Smith, Robin Ventura, Kirk Gibson and Jayson Werth, among others.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Travis Ishikawa accomplished something last year that the Giants couldn't: He reached the postseason. And while Ishikawa didn't make the Pirates' 25-man roster for their Wild Card Game loss to the Cubs, he still featured quite prominently in October.

Ishikawa joined a cast of sluggers whose monumental home runs provided video for a thrilling montage that MLB Network aired to promote its postseason telecasts. Ishikawa's walk-off long ball for the Giants in Game 5 of the 2014 National League Championship Series appeared in a 61-second highlight sequence of similar homers hit by Carlton Fisk, David Freese, Joe Carter, George Brett, Jeff Kent, Reggie Jackson, Chris Chambliss, Derek Jeter, Ozzie Smith, Robin Ventura, Kirk Gibson and Jayson Werth, among others.

"Every time I saw that commercial, I had to stop what I was doing," Ishikawa said Tuesday. "It was really cool."

Mariners sign Ishikawa to Minors deal

Until that spot aired, it was easy to lose track of Ishikawa last year. He began the season on the Giants' disabled list with a back injury and was claimed off waivers in July by the Pittsburgh Pirates, for whom he hit .224 in 38 games.

Next month, Ishikawa will continue his series of fresh starts when he reports to Spring Training with the Seattle Mariners. Since Ishikawa's stretch of 10 consecutive seasons in the Giants' system ended in 2011, he has played for six different organizations, including his '14-15 repeat stint with San Francisco.

Video: NLCS Gm5: Jon Miller calls Ishikawa's walk-off homer

Though Ishikawa's unhappiness with his itinerant lifestyle and absences from his family nearly prompted him to quit baseball a couple of years ago, the first baseman/outfielder is ready for whatever this season might bring.

"I haven't been with one team for an entire year since 2012," said Ishikawa, who spent that charmed season with Milwaukee. "I've kind of gotten used to that shuffling around, [but] I don't like it."

After hitting the home run that propelled the Giants into the World Series for the third time in five seasons, Ishikawa could have been excused for believing he had a genuine chance to find a niche with San Francisco.

"I had expectations," Ishikawa said. But the reality, he added, "didn't come anywhere close to how it turned out."

His back, which he injured early in Spring Training, was a primary source of disappointment.

"By the time I was healthy and ready to go, there didn't seem to be a spot for me anywhere," Ishikawa said.

Video: MIL@PIT: Ishikawa singles, advances on error

Ishikawa nevertheless drew interest as a free agent this offseason from several teams -- including the Giants, who might have benefited from the depth he would have provided.

"Pretty much until [Denard] Span signed, it looked like an enticing situation," Ishikawa said, indicating that he would have been in the thick of competition for a backup left-field spot. He ultimately regarded Seattle, which can use his experience off the bench, as his best opportunity to play. The Mariners invited Ishikawa to big league Spring Training and will pay him $900,000 in 2016 if he reaches the Majors.

Seattle also happens to be only about 20 miles north of Federal Way, Wash., where Ishikawa grew up. But given his numerous career moves, he doesn't dwell on the prospect of playing true home games.

"I'm just trying to be as close to the West Coast as possible," said Ishikawa, who resides with his wife and three children in the Scottsdale, Ariz., area.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

San Francisco Giants, Travis Ishikawa