2014 SF Giants postseason hero returning to San Jose for 3rd season as hitting coach

NLCS - St Louis Cardinals v San Francisco Giants - Game Five
NLCS - St Louis Cardinals v San Francisco Giants - Game Five / Jason O. Watson/GettyImages
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The San Jose Giants announced its coaching staff on Wednesday. The announcement confirmed that 2014 SF Giants postseason hero Travis Ishikawa would be returning as the team's hitting coach for a third season.

2014 SF Giants postseason hero returning to San Jose for 3rd season as hitting coach

Ydwin Villegas is set to take over as the manager for the 2024 season. Jeremiah Knackstedt was the team's skipper last year and led the club to a 68-64 season. Villegas played in the Giants organization for his entire seven-year career as a pro and has since moved into a coaching role. This includes working as San Jose's fundamentals coach in 2023.

On the other, Dan Runzler is returning for a third season along with Ishikawa. His pro career came to an end after the 2019 season and immediately transitioned into a coaching role, returning for a third season as San Jose's pitching coach.

The former reliever had a meteoric rise through the Giants minor league systeam in 2009. He started the season in Low-A and moved rapidly up the ladder before accumulating 11 outings with the Giants in that same season. Runzler appeared in parts of four seasons with the Giants and briefly popped up again with the Pittsburgh Pirates several years later.

The return of Runzler and Ishikawa do bring some continuity to San Jose's coaching staff. While the roster may change, bringing back those two is a sign that they doing a good job.

Ishikawa is well known among Giants fans. He was selected in the 21st round of the 2002 draft out of Federal Way High School in Federal Way, Washington. He earned a $955,000 signing bonus, which is one of the highest, if not the highest signing bonus, issued to a player in the 21st round.

The lefty bat saw considerable time as the team's first baseman in the late 2000's. He bounced around the league a bit before returning to the Giants in the 2014 season. We did not know it at the time, but that proved to be a huge addition.

In the NLCS, Ishikawa blasted a walk-off three-run homer against Michael Wacha of the St. Louis Cardinals to send the Giants back to the World Series. He had an incredible NLCS, recording five hits in 13 at-bats with seven RBI while seeing time in left field.

Ishikawa's career came to an end after the 2016 season and he has worked as a Giants minor league coach even since then. He left a mark on the franchise that will not soon be forgotten and continues to help out the organization in a much different way today.