Devon Travis‘ knee injury in October was a major blow to the Toronto Blue Jays during the MLB playoffs last season. Travis underwent surgery in the off-season, but his exact return date is still uncertain as spring training resumes.
“We’re still in a little bit of uncertainty over when he starts his year, whether it’s Day 1, Day 10, Day 14, because he’s still coming back off of an injury,” Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro told Tim and Sid on Monday. “He’s making progress, steady progress, extremely positive and working extremely hard, but there is still some unknown at this moment.”
Shapiro stated that Travis represents one of the positions where the team has upside, but that the second baseman has to be on the field in order to meet his potential.
The Blue Jays open the regular season on April 3, which gives Travis approximately six more weeks to be ready for Opening Day.
If Travis isn't fit in time, it would be disappointing for the Blue Jays, but it appears as if Shapiro is satisfied with the options on the roster.
"We built a lot of our off-season moves around flexibility with players like Steve Pearce and understanding that we’ve got versatile guys like Ryan Goins and Darwin Barney," said Shapiro. "We’ve got guys that we can move around the diamond and will adjust. Every single team is going to go through some injury challenges throughout the season. How tough you are as a group and individually are going to determine how you get through those things."
The flexibility on the Blue Jays' roster will be enhanced even more if Kendrys Morales can play first base. Shapiro said he spoke to Morales during the off-season about the possibility of him playing on the field more often.
"The conversation for both him and for us internally was he has the ability to play more first base than he has played in the past few years. A lot of that was less about him and more about the fact that Eric Hosmer is, if not the, one of the best first basemen in the American League, so he was not going to see the field much. We’re better if he can go out and play some first base. Again, the expectation would not be, under any scenario, for him to be an everyday first baseman."
Morales could potentially play in the outfield as well, although Shapiro did not bring it up.
The Blue Jays will open their spring training schedule on Saturday against the Atlanta Braves.