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Travis will platoon at second to protect health

Second baseman missed significant time the past two seasons due to injuries
MLB.com @gregorMLB

TORONTO -- Blue Jays manager John Gibbons unveiled his plans for second baseman Devon Travis on Saturday morning, and the schedule will involve a lot of rest.

Toronto intends to play Travis for two games followed by an off-day for the foreseeable future. There is no timetable for when Travis might become an everyday player again, but for now he will form a platoon in order to protect his health.

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TORONTO -- Blue Jays manager John Gibbons unveiled his plans for second baseman Devon Travis on Saturday morning, and the schedule will involve a lot of rest.

Toronto intends to play Travis for two games followed by an off-day for the foreseeable future. There is no timetable for when Travis might become an everyday player again, but for now he will form a platoon in order to protect his health.

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Travis was limited to 50 games last season and 101 games the year before because of multiple injuries. He has dealt with shoulder issues in the past and last year had right knee surgery, which ended his season on June 4. Toronto is trying to make sure history does not repeat itself.

"Starting out anyways, two days on, one off, see where that takes us," Gibbons said. "Everybody seems to think that will extend the season. If we get later in the season and we're still in the thing, we could adjust off that, but that's kind of the plan right now. He's felt fine. It's only been two games, but he feels pretty good."

When Travis is in the lineup, he will be the Blue Jays' regular leadoff man. When he's out of the lineup, Curtis Granderson will bat first against righties and Steve Pearce will be in the top spot against lefties. Yangervis Solarte and Gift Ngoepe will handle second whenever Travis is unavailable.

The current situation is far from ideal, but an even worse scenario would be losing Travis to the disabled list for an extended period of time. He carries a plus bat, and for a team that is expected to struggle to score runs this season, the Blue Jays need his offensive upside in the lineup whenever possible.

"That's hard to do, especially when he gets rolling with that bat, because he's a really good offensive player," Gibbons said of providing Travis with regular rest. "The last couple of years have been tough on him, in games played, and we're better when he's out there a lot. We think this is the way to do it."

Donaldson fields grounders
Josh Donaldson fielded ground balls at third base prior to Saturday's game against the Yankees. He made most of his throws to second base, instead of first, as he continues to work through a dead arm that often can be related to a sense of fatigue or weakness.

Donaldson appeared to have more velocity on his throws than he did during Thursday's season opener against the Yankees. That's a positive development, and after the on-field drills, Donaldson told reporters he was feeling a lot better.

Video: NYY@TOR: Donaldson lays out to rob Sanchez of a hit

The 32-year-old got the start at designated hitter on Saturday afternoon and likely will be there again on Sunday. That would create the possibility of Donaldson returning to third for an upcoming series against the White Sox from Monday to Wednesday. Solarte will continue to start at third in Donaldson's absence while regular DH Kendrys Morales is forced to the bench.

"I feel good, I feel really good," Donaldson said. "I was kind of close coming into it, and some things that were happening in an Opening Day scenario made it a little bit more difficult to get ready. But like I said, it has been going in the right direction for some time now, and I feel good about it."

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Toronto Blue Jays, Devon Travis