TORONTO -- The loss of Devon Travis for the rest of the postseason due to a right knee injury adds an additional challenge for a Blue Jays team facing a 2-0 American League Championship Series deficit against the Indians, but Toronto manager John Gibbons has worked on adjusting his defensive
TORONTO -- The loss of Devon Travis for the rest of the postseason due to a right knee injury adds an additional challenge for a Blue Jays team facing a 2-0 American League Championship Series deficit against the Indians, but Toronto manager John Gibbons has worked on adjusting his defensive alignment and lineup as the series shifts to Rogers Centre.
Gibbons announced the Blue Jays will use Darwin Barney and Ryan Goins in a platoon situation in place of their starting second baseman. Replacing Travis' production atop the order could prove to be more difficult, however, as the 25-year-old was the Blue Jays' lone .300 hitter, and his ability to put the ball in play, handle the bat, as well as go gap-to-gap adds a rare mix to a lineup that regularly relies on home runs.
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"We've got to come ready to play every day," said Barney, who won a Gold Glove with the Cubs in 2012. "Similar to earlier this season, we need to stick to our plan and have an approach when we go up there. Obviously, Devon is missed. He's one of the best all-around hitters that we have on this team, so we're going to do what we can to pick up the slack and put pressure on these guys. "
All hands in the Blue Jays' clubhouse have been on deck with whatever strategy Gibbons chooses to use, including outfielder José Bautista, who has seen time in the leadoff spot in the past. Of late, the Blue Jays have been using Ezequiel Carrera, who is hitless in seven at-bats in the ALCS, atop the order.
"During the course of 162, you can walk into that office, and if you feel like you want to give the manager options to kind of play with the lineup and make him feel comfortable with any changes that he might be considering, yeah," Bautista said. "But at this point of the year, it's hard for me or anyone in the room to go in there and kind of do that.
"I think [Gibbons] has a lot on his plate, and by this point, he knows we're all willing to do whatever it takes. I don't think anybody needs to go in there and kind of throw more stuff on his plate. I'm sure all of the options that he's considering, we would all comply with."
An MRI on the weekend revealed that Travis is suffering from a bone bruise in his right knee, with a small flap of cartilage caught in the joint. Travis will likely require a knee scope, but he will be reevaluated when the swelling fully subsides. He is expected to be ready for Spring Training.
Toronto's placement of Barney and Goins on the initial ALCS roster was a safeguard for this exact scenario, and both players stayed prepared in the event they would be called upon. Travis missed the second half of last season and the 2015 postseason with a left shoulder injury, and offseason surgery on that shoulder kept him out until late May. He also missed the final two games of the ALDS due to his injured right knee.
"We knew coming into the series that there was a possibility he couldn't go," said Goins, who replaced Travis in Game 1. "Having him not play those last couple of games in Texas, we knew we still had to be ready and go through our normal prep work, and that's really what we do in the postseason anyway. You have to keep yourself prepared mentally and physically from the first pitch to the last pitch, and I think that's what me and Barney were doing."
*Alykhan Ravjiani * is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto.