Ishikawa's return will require a difficult decision

Ishikawa's return will require a difficult decision

SAN FRANCISCO -- Travis Ishikawa's impending eligibility for activation from the disabled list will force the Giants to confront what likely will be a difficult decision.

Ishikawa is on an injury rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Sacramento that ends Saturday. He said he has recovered from the strained back that has sidelined him all season. The Giants could find a way to delay making a roster move involving the first baseman/left fielder, but they'll eventually have to trim a member of the seven-man bullpen or shed a backup position player to make room for him. Neither move would be a comfortable one.

Declining to bring back Ishikawa would not sit well either, particularly with fans who cherish his three-run homer in the ninth inning of Game 5 of the National League Championship Series that defeated St. Louis and propelled the Giants into the World Series. Asked whether he has communicated with Giants officials about his status, Ishikawa said Tuesday, "I have no idea. Nothing has been said."

With Sacramento playing a day game Tuesday following a night game Monday, Ishikawa was given a break in his recovery schedule, which enabled him to materialize in the Giants' clubhouse. He expressed satisfaction with his ability to play nine innings during the past two weeks. "My swing is getting where I like it," said Ishikawa, who's hitting .318 (14-for-44) in 12 games.

Ishikawa, 31, realizes that he'll spend a lot of time on the bench with the Giants, particularly if first baseman Brandon Belt remains productive. Ishikawa mentioned that he's slated to play left field for Sacramento on Thursday and Friday, which could reflect the Giants' plans for him. He's unlikely to wrest much playing time from left fielder Nori Aoki, but that doesn't disturb him.

"If I'm not going to be an everyday guy, I want to be the best pinch-hitter that I can be," Ishikawa said.

• Right-handers Matt Cain (flexor tendon) and Jake Peavy (back) both continued recovering from their respective injuries by throwing off bullpen mounds. Giants manager Bruce Bochy said that Peavy could be ready for a rehab assignment with Class A Advanced San Jose, while Cain's next step probably will be throwing breaking pitches on flat ground.

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.