Blue Jays place Devon Travis on the DL, recall Munenori Kawasaki


In a move that was seeming more and more like an eventuality, the Toronto Blue Jays announced late Thursday night that second baseman Devon Travis was heading to the 15-day disabled list. In his stead, the Blue Jays have recalled infielder Munenori Kawasaki up from the Buffalo Bisons, as noted by Barry Davis of Sportsnet.

Devon Travis is believed to have suffered the shoulder injury on April 30th game against the Cleveland Indians. A hard-hit ball off the bat of Brandon Moss took a high bounce and hit Travis in the collarbone. While he stayed in the game, the second baseman appeared to be in pain during subsequent at-bats. He would sit out on May 1st, but would go on to make the start in the next 14 contests before the pain became unbearable. Since injuring the collarbone, Travis has hit .185/.241/.315 and was a -0.32 WPA (Win Probability Added) during that span.

With Travis having not played since May 16th, the Blue Jays were able to backdate the 15-day disabled list move to May 17th. This would allow the rookie second baseman to rejoin the team as soon as June 1st. In the meantime, the Blue Jays are expected to deploy a combination of Steve Tolleson and Munenori Kawasaki at second base for the weekend series against the Seattle Mariners. Kawasaki is expected to be optioned back to Buffalo on Monday when Jose Reyes rejoins the team from his rehab assignment.

For Kawasaki, it is once again the return of a fan favorite. GIF accounts will explode and sound bytes galore will be had, even if the infielder is up for just a few short days. The Japanese sensation is a one-man show anywhere near a microphone, and the media will make sure they have their eye on Kawasaki throughout the weekend series.

As for his performance on the field, that’s a bit of a different story. While Kawasaki has a reputation of working pitchers, he hasn’t managed to do much with the pitches he does put into play. The 33-year-old is a career .235/.315/.284 hitter with a wRC+ of 70 over 239 games. However, he performed adequately for the Blue Jays in 2014, hitting .258/.327/.296 in 82 games last season.

At the time of his recall, Kawasaki was typical back-up infielder at Triple-A Buffalo. In 87 plate appearances, he had mustered just four extra-base hits to go along with a .222/.349/.278 slash-line. However, with tough right-handers in Felix Hernandez and Taijuan Walker on the mound for Seattle this weekend, having the left-handed bat in the line-up will prevent the Blue Jays from having to play Steve Tolleson in those games.

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