Ishikawa making strong push for roster spot

White Sox non-roster invitee could back up Abreu at first base

Ishikawa making strong push for roster spot

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Coming into spring camp as a non-roster invitee on a Minor League deal is a tough situation, but Travis Ishikawa has made the most of his opportunity with the White Sox.

Ishikawa was hitting .289 entering Monday and finished a single shy of the cycle Sunday, a game in which he collected five RBIs.

"He keeps making it a little more difficult," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said of the possibility of leaving Ishikawa off the Opening Day roster.

Ishikawa's two-run homer

The 32-year old is competing with Matt Davidson, Carlos Sanchez and Jerry Sands for the final spot on the 25-man roster.

Ishikawa was also the beneficiary of Adam LaRoche's surprise retirement. Ishikawa, like LaRoche, is a left-handed hitter who can serve as Jose Abreu's backup at first base.

Ishikawa also brings a bit of versatility as he's played 17 career games in the outfield.

"You're looking at a guy that can play first base, a little bit of outfield and can swing it from the left side," Ventura said. "I think the more looks we really get of him, it's just a better understanding of where he's at, what we need."

Worth noting

Alex Avila left Saturday's game with lower back tightness and was out of the lineup Sunday and Monday, but Ventura expects Avila back behind the plate Tuesday. Ventura also said Avila hit in the cage Monday.

William Boor is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.