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Ishikawa draws fourth straight start at first base

PITTSBURGH -- Travis Ishikawa did something on Friday night he had done only once since the middle of the 2010 season: start a fourth consecutive game.

Pretty convincing evidence of the 30-year-old first baseman's comeback from obscurity. Theoretically, he merely is the lefty half in a platoon with the right-handed hitting Gaby Sanchez. But in practice, he is an early season fixture because the Pirates are facing their usual phalanx of right-handed starters, and because manager Clint Hurdle does not want him to lose his Spring Training edge.

"I do try to read something into Spring Training swings to get some momentum, and to get some traction in the lineup," Hurdle said.

Ishikawa wedged himself onto the club by batting .290, with three home runs, in the preseason. He did leave Florida cool (2-for-12), then had two hits on Opening Day.

He had last started four straight games on Sept. 10-14, 2012, when he was with the Brewers. Prior to that, his last such regular duty came on July 9-15, 2010, with the Giants, for whom he was the regular first baseman for the 2009-10 seasons.

Tom Singer is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer.
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