Devon Travis has not played since hurting his shoulder in a game against the Philadelphia Phillies on July 2h8t last season. He is getting closer to a return to the Blue Jays lineup as he continues his rehab assignment with the Buffalo Bisons.
After another quiet night for the Blue Jays bats, help appears to be on the way. Devon Travis played his fifth game with the Buffalo Bisons and ninth game overall, but as Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi reports, the Blue Jays plan on giving him more time in the minors to swing the bat.
“Stamina, he should be fine, he needs (at-bats), to be fair to him,” said Gibbons. “He’s had a lot of at-bats in (extended spring training), he’s had a couple of games in triple-A – the big leagues are still different. You want to make sure he’s seeing enough breaking balls, things like that, facing some of the best pitchers down there. You jump the gun too soon, you don’t want him to get off to a struggle, either.”
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Travis has done well in his extended rehab stint so far, which ends on June 1st. He has 11 hits in 36 bats with four doubles. While he has only walked once, the second-baseman’s timing seems to be doing just fine as he has struck out just three times — a noteworthy statistic for a player coming back from shoulder surgery. He picked up a few at-bats against T.J. House of the Columbus Clippers and Sean O’Sullivan of the Pawtucket Red Sox, both of whom have major league experience.
Travis and his 2015 slash line of .304 / .361 / .498 would be a treat for a Blue Jays offence that is lacking some punch right now. The 25-year-old could slide into the lead off role upon his arrival in Toronto, and Gibbons told Shi Davidi he should become a key cog in the struggling offence.
“I think he’s got a chance to be one of the better hitters in the game because he has that simple stroke, he knows how to use the whole field, he hits breaking balls,” said Gibbons. “We’re keeping an eye on him. And we know he could fit that leadoff role when he gets here, too. … If he’s anything close to what he was last year, he should add a lot.”
Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com noted the Blue Jays second-base tandem of Ryan Goins and Darwin Barney have a combined OPS of .588 entering play Tuesday night — ranking 29th in the MLB. While having Travis in the lineup will be a welcome addition, expecting a guy coming off a serious injury with just 62 at-bats in his major-league career to come in and “save the season” would be an unfair conjecture.