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2B Travis recalled, signaling Blue Jays' SS plan

MLB.com @gregorMLB

TORONTO -- Devon Travis admits that his career took a step back earlier this year, but he hopes even more adversity will turn him into a better Major Leaguer.

Travis rejoined the Blue Jays on Tuesday after he was recalled following a three-week stint in the Minor Leagues. He was immediately inserted into the Blue Jays' starting lineup at second base but had a rough return by going 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts in Toronto's 5-3 win over the Angels. Travis took the spot of infielder Richard Urena, who was optioned to the Minor Leagues following Sunday's loss to Oakland.

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TORONTO -- Devon Travis admits that his career took a step back earlier this year, but he hopes even more adversity will turn him into a better Major Leaguer.

Travis rejoined the Blue Jays on Tuesday after he was recalled following a three-week stint in the Minor Leagues. He was immediately inserted into the Blue Jays' starting lineup at second base but had a rough return by going 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts in Toronto's 5-3 win over the Angels. Travis took the spot of infielder Richard Urena, who was optioned to the Minor Leagues following Sunday's loss to Oakland.

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When healthy, Travis has been a mainstay in the Blue Jays' lineup over the last couple of years. He has displayed a plus bat in the past, but this year he got off to a really slow start at the plate with just nine hits in 61 at-bats, which eventually led to his demotion.

"I think when you go from the big leagues to Triple-A, it's definitely a step back," Travis said. "It's tough and it gives you a little bit of time to reflect, look yourself in the mirror and understand there's more work to be done. I think that's the biggest thing I took from all of this."

Travis has experienced more of those moments of reflection than most over the last several years. He was sidelined with a wide variety of injuries during that span and still has yet to appear in more than 101 games in a season. Last year, he was limited to 50 games because of another knee injury, but health hasn't been an issue this year -- even though the club has closely monitored his workload because of his checkered past.

The 27-year-old appeared in 14 games with the Bisons and slashed .210/.234/.274 with two extra-base hits and four RBIs. Travis finished on an eight-game hitting streak, but he also did not have any multihit games during that stretch. The Blue Jays maintained over the last week that Travis' performance at the plate was better than the numbers would indicate, and now he'll have another chance to show it at the big league level.

"After that, I probably had every thought possible run through my head," Travis said of being optioned on April 28. "That was tough, but I understand I have to get better. That's something I woke up and had to tell myself every day. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't very hard. It's some of the harder days that I've had in this game, but I've been through a lot and try to take adversity and turn it into a positive. Like I said, going back sometimes can be the thing to spring you forward."

Urena's departure leaves the Blue Jays without a natural shortstop on their roster. Gio Urshela, who typically plays third, is expected to see most of the action at short while Yangervis Solarte and catcher Russell Martin will serve as the primary backups. Solarte likely will also see time at second and third in a super-utility infielder role.

"They both could play it, yes sir," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of Urshela and Solarte.

Injury updates

The Blue Jays released another round of injury updates prior to Tuesday night's game against the Angels. Randal Grichuk, Aledmys Diaz, Jaime Garcia, Steve Pearce, Marcus Stroman and Troy Tulowitzki -- who are all currently on the disabled list -- were the ones mentioned.

Grichuk, who has been out since April 29 with a sprained posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, was scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with Class A Dunedin on Tuesday night. Due to his lengthy absence, Grichuk will need to appear in at least a few rehab games, but he has an outside chance to be activated by the end of the week.

Pearce has been out since May 3 with a strained oblique and has yet to make any significant progress toward a return. The veteran left fielder is doing some long toss but will not begin hitting with any kind of intensity until he is asymptomatic. The news is better for Diaz, who is taking batting practice, performing agility drills and should be nearing a rehab assignment at the end of the week.

Garcia is set to throw a side session within the next couple of days and will then be re-evaluated for a possible return to the Blue Jays' rotation. Stroman began a throwing progression at the club's Minor League complex, but there is still no timetable for a potential rehab assignment or return to Toronto. Tulowitkzi is set to be examined by his foot surgeon later in the week to update his progress in returning from surgery to remove bone spurs in each of his feet.

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