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Travis flourishing at top of the order

August 8, 2018

TORONTO -- Devon Travis appears to have found a new home near the top of the Blue Jays' everyday lineup.Travis has spent most of the season hitting ninth, but he was promoted to the No. 2 spot during a recent series in Seattle and it doesn't look like he'll be

TORONTO -- Devon Travis appears to have found a new home near the top of the Blue Jays' everyday lineup.
Travis has spent most of the season hitting ninth, but he was promoted to the No. 2 spot during a recent series in Seattle and it doesn't look like he'll be returning to the bottom of the order any time soon.
The 27-year-old has been one of Toronto's consistent performers of late. He entered play against the Red Sox on Wednesday riding a five-game hitting streak, which included three multi-hit games, two home runs, a double and nine RBIs.
"Shoot, ever since we put him in that two spot, he's rolling," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He looks like the old guy. We've been waiting on that."
Travis' recent performance is a stark contrast from how he was playing at the start of the year. He struggled to adjust to Toronto's cautious approach of using him only two out of every three games following last year's knee surgery and was sent to the Minors on April 27 with a .148/.212/.246 slash line.
It has been a different story since returning to the big league club on May 22, and Travis has once again begun to resemble the player the Blue Jays expected him to be at the start of the year. Over his past 24 games, Travis is batting .316 (24-for-76) with two doubles, a triple, three homers and 17 RBIs.
Along the way, Travis has made a little bit of history as well. With a two-run homer against the Red Sox on Tuesday night, he moved into a tie with Damaso Garcia for the fourth-most home runs all-time by a Blue Jays second baseman. Travis has 32 career homers at second, and Aaron Hill is the all-time franchise leader with 90.
"I've always envisioned that," Gibbons said of using Travis as a top-of-the-order bat. "Starting this year, he had a tough start, so it was tough to put him up there ... but we've put him up there, and he just took off. Don't mess with success."
Waiting on Stroman
The Blue Jays were not able to provide a medical update on Marcus Stroman's injured finger, but the right-hander is still expected to make his next start. Stroman left Tuesday night's game against the Red Sox after seven innings when a blister popped open on his right middle finger.

Stroman dealt with a similar issue last year, and it has been a recurring problem in 2018. The product of Duke University has been forced to leave a couple of starts early because of the blister, but he has yet to have to miss a start, and he expects that trend to continue.
"It's tough to deal with; it's right off my sinker grip," Stroman said. "I just have to be good these next four days, staying up on everything I can to make it heal, but I won't be missing my next start."
Giles and Tepera staying put
Closer Ken Giles and top setup man Dennis Tepera combined to allow nine runs over 1 2/3 innings during Tuesday's 10-7 loss to the Red Sox, but Gibbons doesn't have any plans to change their late-inning roles.

The Blue Jays are pretty strapped for reliable relievers after trading Seunghwan Oh, John Axford and Aaron Loup prior to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, so there are fewer candidates to fill in. Even if more options were available, it's unlikely Gibbons would make a switch.
"Why not?" Gibbons said when asked if he would run his two relievers back out in the same role as before. "Every time someone has a tough one, you can't just eliminate them. I'm not necessarily looking at last night that way, but we have certain guys, and they're not going to be good every time out. You're going to need them.
"[Giles], naturally I thought his breaking ball was a little bit better in Seattle, but he definitely has the stuff. No doubt."
Toronto sends Tepesch to Tigers
The Blue Jays completed a minor trade on Wednesday night by sending veteran right-hander Nick Tepesch to the Tigers for cash considerations.
Tepesch made three starts for Toronto last season, but split this year between Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Buffalo. The 29-year-old combined to go 2-8 with a 6.45 ERA in 20 appearances this season.
The move comes at a time when the Blue Jays could be looking for a fifth starter, but Tepesch was not expected to factor into that decision. Right-hander Mike Hauschild allowed four runs over 2 1/3 innings against Boston on Wednesday night and could be in jeopardy of losing his role as a temporary fill-in.
Recently acquired Jacob Waguespack likely would be the leading candidate to take Hauschild's spot. The Blue Jays picked up Waguespack in a July 31 trade for Loup. Waguespack allowed just one unearned run over 5 1/3 innings for the Bisons on Wednesday night.

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