Blue Jays Devon Travis recovering, learning patience


Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis is still moving cautiously through his recovery from an offseason shoulder procedure

Baseball isn’t always a game of fairness, and Devon Travis is learning that the hard way.

The Blue Jays 25-year-old second baseman was enjoying a breakout season in a starting role after coming over from the Detroit Tigers in a deal for centre-fielder Anthony Gose, but a shoulder injury cut his season well short.

It was eventually discovered, after numerous questions and setbacks, that Travis had the unique condition of an extra bone in his shoulder. This offseason, he underwent a procedure to insert screws and stabilize that bone, which the club is hoping will resolve the problem long-term.

The short-term forecast, however, still isn’t as clear. Travis tells Ben Nicholson-Smith that he has a return date set in his mind, but Toronto’s loose timeline of a May return may prove difficult unless he is able to resume some level of baseball activity fairly soon.

“I don’t want to set anything and then feel like I’m letting myself down,” he said. “I have a time where I want to be back.”

Ryan Goins will be tasked with the starting job at second while Darwin Barney appears a near-lock to make the 25-man roster on a major league contract. Returning Travis would not only improve that position, though, but also give the Blue Jays another option for the leadoff job currently being competed for between Michael Saunders and Kevin Pillar.

“Early on I probably should remember that I’m still going through it,” Travis told Sportsnet. “Just the first day I swing, they’ll probably tell me to go 25 per cent and I’ll probably go 100. I have to learn to scale back because I’m always trying to push.”

Pardon me for briefly straying from hard analytics, too, but this frustrating injury couldn’t have happened to a kinder person. Any man that shoots an episode of the Jays Nest Podcast while driving to dinner in the passenger seat of Steve Tolleson’s Toyota is a man worth rooting for.

“Man, I just want to play. You can put me anywhere you put me. I just want to get back on the field and enjoy the game that I love.”

Given his quiet offseason in terms of baseball activity, it is likely that Travis will need an extensive rehab stint beyond his medical clearance by the Blue Jays medical staff this summer.