DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis still doesn't see the light at the end of the tunnel in his rehab from a left shoulder injury, but the hope is that recovery will be within sight soon.
Travis is expected to be out until at least May after undergoing offseason surgery to treat a condition known as os acromiale. In layman's terms, that's when one of four growth plates on the acromion bone fails to fuse and creates an extra bone.
The surgery, which took place in November, ended a six-month-long saga of lingering shoulder tightness that doctors struggled to properly diagnose. Originally it was believed to be inflammation, and in September, the problem was believed to be focused around a cyst. It wasn't until much later that the real cause was discovered.
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"I did more Google research on every shoulder possibility that there's ever been," Travis said. "I'm just so thankful that they finally found it. Shoulders are tough, shoulders are really tough. I was seeing the best doctors out there, and all of them were on the same page about what the issue was. Finally, they all came to an agreement and we got the right thing done. I'm just thankful I'm on the right track now.
"It was like the most bittersweet thing ever. It was like, you need this surgery, but at the same time, well, finally. We got it, we got it pinned down now. So that's good."
Since undergoing surgery, Travis has been slowly strengthening the muscles in the affected area, with the goal of getting back onto the field. He has yet to resume baseball activities, and there is no official timetable to increase the level of his workouts. But that doesn't mean there was a setback, because all along, Travis was expected to be out 16-20 weeks.
The 25-year-old has been living Groundhog Day ever since. He wakes up, heads to the ballpark and goes through a lengthy process of treatment and specifically designed shoulder exercises. Toronto has resisted the urge to tell him the exact plans for the future, because the organization wants him to take it slow and not try to skip steps along the way to try to quicken his recovery.
Travis' strong desire to get back onto the field actually became somewhat problematic in 2015. He was originally injured in May and tried multiple times to begin an intense rehab, but each time, he suffered a setback. Travis did eventually make it back by the end of June, but a month later, he was gone again with more problems.
There is no rush this time around, as Ryan Goins will take over the starting duties at second base until Travis is ready. Even then, it's possible Travis will have to prove himself all over again, but there's no question his future remains bright after last year's impressive debut, even if it came in a small sample size of 238 plate appearances.
"I feel pretty good, I'm trying to take it day by day as much as I can," said Travis, who hit .304 with eight homers and 35 RBIs in 62 games last year. "Trying not to really look too far ahead, because that's something I always do when recovering.
"I'm always trying to break the next barrier instead of doing it right. I don't want to have any lingering effects from this, and rehab is going good. Every single day I come in and say I'm better than the day before, so that's the most important thing right now."
The exact return date remains a complete unknown, but the positive thing is that Travis is finally headed in the right direction. That is music to the promising infielder's ears after being forced to watch from afar as Toronto made its run to a divison championship and into the postseason last year.
"It was tough, I just became a big fan," said Travis, who still looked visibly disappointed. "I can envision myself being there, because I was there, and the next thing I know, I was a fan. It was the toughest thing I've ever experienced in my life."