DUNEDIN, Fla. – The Toronto Blue Jays don’t yet have target dates for the spring debuts of Josh Donaldson and Devon Travis, but while one recovering infielder has progressed rapidly toward game readiness, the other faces continued uncertainty.
Donaldson, who has been hitting outside, long tossing and taking ground balls, must try running before playing in Grapefruit League games. That hasn’t happened yet, but the Blue Jays are encouraged by the third baseman’s progress.
“I don’t think he’s too far off,” manager John Gibbons said Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the Blue Jays aren’t exactly sure when to expect the return of Travis, who’s recovering from a bone bruise to his right knee suffered late in the 2016 season. While the second baseman has been taking regular batting practice and participating in limited fielding drills, the Blue Jays also acknowledge the possibility that he’ll have to start the season on the disabled list.
“To be honest I don’t know when he’s going to be back and ready to go,” Gibbons said. “It’s one of those things where if it costs him a couple of weeks, or whatever it might be, at the beginning of the season, so be it. As long as we get him back and he can still get a full year in.”
“I expected him, to be honest, to be a little further along than he is, but we’re going to be cautious with him,” Gibbons added.
Darwin Barney’s expected to start the season as the Blue Jays’ backup infielder. If Travis ends up opening the season on the disabled list, Barney and Ryan Goins could both open the season on the big-league roster, allowing the Blue Jays to keep the out-of-options Goins instead of exposing him to waivers. Jake Elmore, Gregorio Petit and Jonathan Diaz represent the organization’s next tier of middle infield depth.
Travis said recently that he’s starting to feel better when he moves around. He continues working closely with the Blue Jays’ trainers and high performance staff to ensure a healthy recovery.
“He’s got his own strict program they put together for him and he’s following that,” Gibbons said.