BALTIMORE -- Chris Davis has started all but one of the Orioles' games this season. And until recently, all those starts came at first base.
But with another first baseman on the roster, manager Buck Showalter has penciled Davis into the designated hitter slot in his lineup three times in the past eight games. That's the luxury Travis Ishikawa has provided Showalter and Davis since the Orioles selected his contract on June 18.
"Chris [Dickerson] can do it in the outfield and Ishi can and we don't lose anything defensively on paper," Showalter said. "So it's good. That's one of the reasons we wanted to have him up here, give these guys a blow now and then."
Davis takes advantage of getting off his feet on defense, and Showalter gets to keep his potent bat in the lineup. But both Ishikawa and Showalter said it's more of a luxury than a necessity to spell Davis.
"With him, I don't really think it matters, because he's a freak of nature and a specimen and he's just an amazing athlete," Ishikawa said. "I think he would tell you that he enjoys it. But just to be able to stay off your feet, I guess for half the game, and focus on just one aspect, it's refreshing."
For his part, Ishikawa has taken extra work hitting off a machine and staying in the weight room to be ready when his name is called.
He posted good numbers with Triple-A Norfolk to begin this season, although playing time has been sporadic since the Orioles recalled him. In his small sample size of five MLB games this season, the lefty is 2-for-13 with six strikeouts.
"I've spent the last five years doing the same thing with the Giants and Brewers, being a pinch-hitter off the bench," Ishikawa said. "So it's a role I've done before, so I'm not uncomfortable with it. Just make the best of it."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. Derek Wetmore is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less