Devon Travis Returns To The Field

Devon Travis
Photo Credit: John Lott

It has been a long, tough road, but Saturday was a very good day for Devon Travis.

Travis said it better: “It was fricking sick.”

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The Blue Jays’ long suffering second baseman played catch effortlessly on flat ground, then fielded ground balls for about 10 minutes. He looked loose and confident.

“My first time on the field with cleats on and pants on and living a baseball life,” he said.

Not that he has been working out on a beach somewhere, buck naked. He meant baseball pants instead of workout shorts and real baseball shoes instead of the runners he has been wearing during his rehab from a very tricky surgery on his left shoulder in November.

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That surgery, his second on that shoulder in four months, corrected a rare condition that required surgeons to fuse two bones that normally fuse by themselves by early adulthood. It took a long time for the medics to figure out why Travis was feeling severe pain, even after they did a routine “cleanout” of the shoulder in August.

So the American League’s rookie of the month last April ended up missing more than four months of a landmark season for the Blue Jays. He morphed from an integral part of the club to a lost soul as Ryan Goins took over – and excelled – at Travis’s old job.

In 217 plate appearances, Travis batted .304 with an .859 OPS.

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He hit eight homers, the last coming on July 28. In his next at bat, he struck out, grimaced in pain and was unable to play again the rest of the way.

There remains no precise timetable for his return. Someone mentioned four to six weeks. “I hope so,” he said.

When he came off the field Saturday, he got a big hug from Nikki Huffman, the Jays’ new physical therapist, known for her work last summer on Marcus Stroman’s rehab at Duke University.

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“I wouldn’t be this far without her right now,” Travis said. “I definitely am so thankful for her.”

Now the priority is to build up his overall body strength and gradually add more baseball activity. He is, in essence, starting spring training just as a new season is about to begin.

But he has reached the point where he no longer worries about the shoulder.

“Just doing little things in the weight room helped me get my confidence,” he said. “I know that once you step on that field and it’s go time, you can’t worry about anything. This game’s hard enough. I’m not worried about any pain.”

  • Cam Lewis

    This is great news. I feel like Devon gets overlooked and forgotten largely because he’s been out for so long, but man, he was awesome last year. It would be huge to get him back and rolling like he was before he got hurt.

    • Warren_

      Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves here. Travis had one good month — and I’m being generous here — then his production dropped from a .440 OBP in mid-April to .330 when he got injured in mid-May.

      There’s no way he’s replacing either Goins or Barney this year, both of whom have significantly more major league (and minor league) experience. Goins is, in the estimation of many, the best 2B the Blue Jays have had in 20 years and you don’t sit a guy like that because some other guy had one good month.

      Travis should be developing in AA/AAA alongside Girodo, Burns, Alford, Pompey and Greene. He can get everyday playing time he needs in Buffalo, and he’ll figure into the 2017 Blue Jays roster if Darwin Barney doesn’t stick around.

      • dolsh

        “Goins is, in the estimation of many, the best 2B the Blue Jays have had in 20 years”
        Who are these “many?”

        Orlando Hudson, Aaron Hill and even Homer Bush will argue Goins needs the glove to be above replacement level, not to mention all three had higher WAR seasons than Goins’ 2015.

      • Sox

        Talk about getting ahead of yourself. Goins is lights out defensively but the bat is real weak. Best in 20 years? How about we start with Aaron Hill and go from there. And when Travis is ready, Goins is the backup MI. Barney is the odd man out.

      • The Real That Guy

        “There’s no chance” that Travis replaces either Goins or Barney “this year?”

        What a crock of baloney.

        Travis doesn’t need to be a .440 OBP guy to have a place on this team,
        So the argument that he fell off some sort of cliff to a .330 mark is silly. Even at a .330 OBP he’s 50 points ahead of Goins’ career mark and 12 points ahead of his much improved 2015.

        Even if you choose to believe those marks are the new normal for Goins and the high-bar for Travis, you could still argue that Devo has the better bat.

        The argument really seems to be that we shouldn’t risk losing Barney. Because he’d be the odd one out, and Goins would still get substantial playing time as a utility infielder while covering for DH days for Donaldson, tulo, and Travis.

        But above all else, to say definitively that he won’t replace Darwin Barney on the 2016 Jays is ridiculously hot take.

        • DAKINS

          Yeah, Travis is absolutely above both Goins and Barney on the depth chart once he’s healthy. Until he proves otherwise, he’s the starting 2B on the Jays.