Travis close to full health, working with Tulo

Second baseman nearing return to field after minor offseason knee surgery

February 18th, 2017

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Blue Jays second baseman says he's close to full health after having offseason surgery to remove a flap of cartilage from his right knee.

Travis, who missed time during the 2016 American League Division Series and Championship Series with a bone bruise in his knee, said the key is being smart and using the spring to work his way into shape.

"It feels good, I'm just taking it day by day," Travis said. "It's getting there. I think the biggest thing that [the trainers] try to remind me is to be smart because it's early. I'm always trying to push the envelope, and sometimes you can end up in bad situations."

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Manager John Gibbons said he expects Travis to be ready for full activity sooner rather than later.

"We're going to see how he progresses," Gibbons said. "Hopefully it's not too much longer … but you also want to be smart with it, so he doesn't experience any setbacks."

Travis said he's not feeling any pain, although he isn't certain the bone bruise is gone. He expects to increase his lateral movement over the next few days.

Travis also said he's excited that shortstop has taken on the role of mentoring him and the other young middle infielders in the Blue Jays' system. When it comes to Travis, Tulowitzki suggested that the two will be doing as much extra work as possible to get ready for the season.

And Travis is ready to take in all of the knowledge Tulowitzki wants to share.

"Having an opportunity to play with that guy is unbelievable," Travis said. "He's so intense. Every single day I learn something new from him. So any chance I play next to him, I'll never take a ground ball for granted. We took ground balls the other day, and he did more work and was sweating harder than I was."

Travis also continues to evolve as a hitter, as he showed he had plenty of pop in his bat, hitting .300 with 11 home runs, 28 doubles and 50 RBIs in 2016.

Gibbons said Travis has the ability to be one of the best hitters in baseball.

"When I first saw him, I thought he was strictly a line-drive guy, but I've seen him hit some home runs a long way," Gibbons said. "And he'll drive in some runs. He'll be a high-average guy. For a young kid, he's got a great approach. He uses the whole field, and he's strong."

Travis was flattered by Gibbons' assessment and said he continues to learn from the veterans in the lineup.

"Yeah, that's special … that's so cool to hear," Travis said. "To me, it doesn't really make sense. I come to the park every day, and I try to get better and learn from these guys. Without guys like [Jose] Bautista, [Josh] Donaldson, [Indians designated hitter and former teammate ] and Tulo, and the things that they taught me over the years, I wouldn't be half the hitter I am now."