DUNEDIN, Fla. – Devon Travis put on his full spring uniform with a purpose Saturday morning. He played catch. He took groundballs. He did some light work in the cage. And he found meaning in every moment of the monotonous daily grind.
"I’ve been taking groundballs for a little bit but to do it on a field in pants, cleats and a hat on, I started to feel like a baseball player again, it was great," the Toronto Blue Jays second baseman said of the step forward in his painstaking recovery from shoulder surgery. "Being on a baseball field again during batting practice in the big-leagues, it’s incredible."
Travis started throwing only a few days ago, and the improvements in his left shoulder’s range of motion allowed him to retake the field Saturday. Later, he continued to his work with the bat, hitting off a tee and soft toss with one hand, and then taking dry swings with both hands, something he just started in the past week.
"It’s going good," he said. "I have all my range, it’s about getting the strength back with it now. I went from literally here (holds his arm out chest high) to all the way up in the period of a week, so the strength isn’t back all the way up top. Once that comes back, I don’t see I wouldn’t be able to progress pretty rapidly baseball-wise."
Travis’ brilliant rookie season was truncated by left shoulder issues that led to a surgery in September that drained a cyst, and a more serious procedure in mid-November to repair a condition known as acromiale in which growth plates in the shoulder fail to fuse.
The recovery was, "rough," said Travis. "Slept on a recliner for a 7½ weeks with my arm in a sling. And it’s not like a sling where you’re chilling, it’s the big boot and your arm is not moving, totally immobilized. Now I can grab a glass of water, I can catch a baseball. Before surgery it got to the point where I couldn’t even grab a cup out of a cabinet. I’ve got two working arms now, it’s good."
Note: Edwin Encarnacion took batting practice on the field for the first time since tweaking his oblique and looked to have no issues. He’s expected to play in a minor-league game Monday.