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Pirates claim Travis Ishikawa from Giants

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates have announced that they've claimed old friend Travis Ishikawa from the Giants. They'll make a corresponding move to add Ishikawa to their active roster when he joins the team.

Ishikawa, of course, briefly played first base for the Pirates until they acquired Ike Davis last year. He then headed to the Giants organization and wound up as a postseason hero. In spite of that, though, the Giants have designated him for assignment twice this season, and he cleared waivers the first time, so he remains a journeyman.

The Pirates' waiver claim happened shortly after Starling Marte left today's game with an injury to his side, and Ishikawa can play either outfield corner, so he might come in somewhat handy if Marte needs to be placed on the disabled list. Beyond that, though, he's a lefty, so he can't be platooned with Pedro Alvarez or Gregory Polanco. There's certainly the possibility that the Pirates could either trade Alvarez or demote Polanco, but in the very short term, those scenarios seem unlikely. So unless Marte's injury turns out to be serious, the Pirates will likely just use Ishikawa as a lefty bench bat. They can use someone like that, and it isn't hard to be a slight upgrade on, say, Steve Lombardozzi (who's actually a switch-hitter). But Ishikawa isn't that great an offensive player (he batted .271/.342/.421 at Triple-A Sacramento this year), and I would have thought that, if the Pirates were going to acquire a corner player, it would be a righty to replace Corey Hart and complement Alvarez and Polanco.