Blue Jays monitor Travis, but return unlikely
Rookie second baseman has progressed slowly with injured left shoulder
NEW YORK -- Troy Tulowitzki's fractured left shoulder blade has taken a toll on the Blue Jays' infield depth, but it doesn't appear as though injured second baseman Devon Travis will be returning any time soon to help pick up the slack.
Rehabbing from a left shoulder injury aggravated on July 28, Travis continues to work out at the club's Minor League complex in Dunedin, Fla., with the goal of returning before the end of the regular season. Time is quickly running out, however, and he has yet to make any significant progress.
The rookie infielder recently started taking dry swings, but Travis has yet to begin hitting off a tee, and there's no timetable for him to face live pitching. That would seem to rule him out for the season, but Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos is holding out hope he'll be able to contribute in some capacity.
"He's progressed very slowly," Anthopoulos said. "At this point, if I had to guess, we're looking at an occasional start, pinch-hit, things like that. But we're starting to run out of time, and it has been so long now [with] timing [and] swinging the bat, so we're going to continue to take all the time we have available to us. But it's too early right now, because we still have three weeks left."
Travis' possible return is made even more unlikely because the Minor League season ended on Sept. 7. He won't be able to go on a rehab assignment, and outside of simulated games in Florida, there isn't really much he can do to get his timing at the plate.
The only way Travis can realistically make it back this year is if he increases his baseball activity in the next week or so. That would give him another week to increase his workload with the goal of returning in the final week of the season. If it doesn't happen by then, it's difficult to envision a scenario where Travis would be added to a postseason roster without any games under his belt.
The reports about Travis' recovery have been pretty vague, but from the organization's perspective, there isn't much to say. Anthopoulos and the rest of his front-office team have been waiting for his return, but it's just not happening as fast as everyone originally anticipated.
"He's down in Florida trying to strengthen his shoulder, doing a bunch of range of motion exercises and things like that, but hasn't started to swing a bat or play in any type of games," Anthopoulos said.
With Travis all but officially ruled out for the rest of the year, Toronto will try to get by with Ryan Goins and Cliff Pennington up the middle. With utilityman Munenori Kawasaki the only backup in that scenario, the Blue Jays acquired infielder Darwin Barney from the Dodgers on Sunday morning in exchange for a player to be named later.
Barney won't be eligible for the postseason roster, but he can buy the club time while it waits for an update on Tulowitzki's status. That should help over the final three-week stretch of the season, but if Tulowitzki isn't ready for the postseason, Toronto could be in some trouble.
"You're going to see Goins out there all the time, and Penny has done a nice job," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "They've been playing good. Tulo is our guy, but we have to move on -- for a few weeks, anyway -- because he's not out there. But those guys are great defenders, and they can both do some things with the bat that can help you win games. They're not our No. 1 guy, but they can definitely help us."