Travis hopes rest before ALCS helps knee heal

October 10th, 2016

TORONTO -- didn't take the field in Sunday night's series-clinching 7-6 victory in 10 innings over the Rangers, but the Blue Jays' injured second baseman is hoping a few days off will allow him to get back into action when the American League Championship Series against the Indians opens on Friday (8 p.m. ET on TBS and, in Canada, Sportsnet and RDS) at Progressive Field.

After sweeping Texas in the AL Division Series, Toronto will have four days off to rest before it faces Cleveland. That time off could be crucial for Travis, who has been dealing with a bone bruise in his right knee since being announced as a late scratch prior to Game 2. The Blue Jays kept Travis on the active roster against the Rangers to preserve his eligibility in the ALCS.

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"We're feeling better about him being part of the ALCS, which is why we didn't replace him," Toronto general manager Ross Atkins said on Monday. "We were optimistic that he would turn the corner, and it seems like he is. It's not definite that he's going to be playable, but we feel very good about it. Today was his best day."

Atkins added that Travis has been doing load-bearing exercises, and he will gradually increase his level of activity in the coming days.

started in place of Travis the past two games, leaving catcher as the Blue Jays' lone emergency middle infielder. While Travis will continue to be evaluated daily, manager John Gibbons noted the team could add infielder to the ALCS roster if needed.

"It's tough in games like this -- with so much on the line -- to have that," Gibbons said about the lack of middle-infield options against Texas. "We'll see how Devon feels after these next few days off. If he's not able to go, it may be worthwhile to put Goins out there just so we're covered and can run a platoon with Barney. It's been kind of a mystery for him. He really can't pinpoint when the injury happened, but it happened. It's really going to be a crucial stretch off for everyone."

Travis received a cortisone shot in his right knee on Saturday afternoon. The FSU product was available in an emergency situation in Game 3, but he ultimately was not used.

"I did my best to prepare to play today," Travis said. "Unfortunately, I wasn't able to start. I was ready to pinch-hit at any point if needed, especially with all the adrenaline flowing."

Travis missed the first six weeks of the season following offseason left shoulder surgery, and he missed two games in September with soreness in the same area. The West Palm Beach, Fla., native led Toronto with a .300 batting average and added 11 home runs with 50 RBIs as the primary leadoff hitter. has entrenched himself atop the order during Travis' absence, and he's hit .375 in the postseason.

"These few days off are going to be great, and I can't say enough about how this team has picked me up," Travis said. "That's the beauty of this team -- we have guys who step up, and it's made a difference for us all year."