Ishikawa expected to join Orioles (updated)

Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said the club is “leaning toward” selecting the contract of first baseman Travis Ishikawa from Triple-A Norfolk.

Ishikawa filed paperwork Sunday to opt out of his contract, giving the Orioles 48 hours to decide whether to bring him to the majors. They didn’t have a spot on the 25-man roster until pitcher Miguel Gonzalez left the team yesterday to join his wife for the birth of their daughter in California. Gonzalez can be placed on three-day paternity leave.

“We have to do something with Ishikawa by midnight tonight, so we’re trying to find a spot for him,” Duquette said. “I’m not sure we’re going to have it resolved by game time. We may bring him up, but we don’t have it resolved. We haven’t decided what we’re going to do.

“We could trade him or let him go to another team. We could do something, but it may not be done for today.”

The Orioles signed Ishikawa, 29, to a minor league deal on Dec. 19. He’s batting .316/.413/.525 with 16 doubles, seven homers and 31 RBIs in 49 games with Norfolk. He’s batting .331/.434/.568 with all seven homers against right-handed pitching.

Ishikawa is a career .264/.328/.405 hitter in parts of five major league seasons, the first four with the Giants. He appeared in 94 games with the Brewers in 2012.

“He was just honored as the International League’s Player of the Month for May. He’s done well in Triple-A and he’s a qualified big leaguer,” Duquette said.

“We’ve got until midnight tonight to make our decision. We could put him on our roster, trade him or let him go. We’re leaning toward taking a look at him in the major leagues and seeing how he fits in with our ballclub.”

The Orioles would have to clear room for Ishikawa on their 40-man roster. Left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada filled the last opening when the Orioles activated him from the 60-day disabled list and optioned him to Norfolk.

If the Orioles do the expected and bring Ishikawa to the majors, they can’t option him later, as they did with Jair Jurrjens, who also had an opt-out clause in his contract. Ishikawa would have to be outrighted, and he could refuse the assignment based on service time. reported late last night that the Orioles had decided to bring up Ishikawa.

Update: Miguel and Lucia Gonzalez are the proud parents of a baby girl, Leah, born last night at 9:20 p.m. Leah weighs six pounds, 11 ounces and is 19 inches long.

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