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Travis aims to take advantage of new opportunity

Acquired from Tigers, Blue Jays prospect thrust into 2B competition after playing OF

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Devon Travis is back at his natural position after last year's brief experiment in center field, but this time, it's with a brand-new team and completely different surroundings.

Travis was dealt from Detroit to the Blue Jays during the offseason for center fielder Anthony Gose. The move gave Travis a chance to return to his roots after previously being blocked at second because Ian Kinsler was under a long-term deal with the Tigers.

The hope of playing second had all but completely vanished because of Kinsler, but in Toronto, there appears to be endless possibilities. Travis, ranked by as the Blue Jays' No. 8 prospect in 2014, is a dark horse for the starting job at second, but even if it doesn't happen by Opening Day, there's a good chance it will occur in the not-so-distant future.

Video: Pleskoff breaks down Blue Jays acquiring Travis

"It was definitely different than anything I ever experienced," Travis said of being traded for the first time in his career. "Early on, I was probably a little sad and confused, trying to understand what the trade means. But it's definitely pretty exciting, having an opportunity to come over here and meet a new team, play with a whole new group of guys, it's pretty cool."

Travis said he actually enjoyed his time in center field while in Detroit's Minor League system, but his natural spot is at second, and that's where the Blue Jays plan on developing him. He's competing for the starting job alongside a large group of players that includes Maicer Izturis, Ryan Goins, Ramon Santiago and Steve Tolleson.

The 24-year-old is the least experienced of that group and most likely will begin the year in Triple-A, but a job on the Opening Day roster hasn't been completely ruled out. In a lot of ways, Travis' play this spring will dictate the next steps, but he appears to have a fan in manager John Gibbons.

"He is an impressive kid," Gibbons said. "He's saying all of the right things, and he's a go-getter. I saw him hit the other day, he has a good swing. The question is, we don't know enough about him defensively, but he looks fine to me while taking ground balls."

The opportunity for an everyday role can often cause a lot of stress for younger players. Sometimes they press at the plate and in the field, trying to do too much instead of letting their natural abilities take over. That certainly could happen with someone like Travis, who has never played above Double-A, but he also seems to be the type of relaxed and easygoing guy who could avoid those pitfalls.

"Any extra pressure that I would add to myself is only going to hurt me," Travis said. "At the end of the day, the decision is never going to be in my hands. I just want to come out here and have fun playing the game and stick to myself. There's no need to change now, just have fun, work as hard as I can and let everything take care of itself."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB.
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