TORONTO -- Devon Travis hopes there will come a time when he can stop answering questions about his health, a day when the sole focus can be on the field instead of the frequent tests and medical reports away from it.Travis truly believes that moment is coming. In a way,
TORONTO -- Devon Travis hopes there will come a time when he can stop answering questions about his health, a day when the sole focus can be on the field instead of the frequent tests and medical reports away from it.
Travis truly believes that moment is coming. In a way, he has to. But the "glass-half-full" mindset is likely one of the only things that got him through a series of devastating injuries that prematurely ended all three of his seasons in the big leagues.
It hasn't been easy. The left shoulder injury that cut short his rookie season and carried into 2016 was difficult enough. Being removed from the American League Championship Series roster after just one game later that year because of a right knee injury was even worse. Then last season, it was like deja vu all over again.
"I believe everything happens for a reason," said Travis, who has been limited to 213 games over three seasons. "To be quite honest, I don't understand the reason at this point, but I know in time, everything will get answered. I have to take care of my business. I have to get healthy. I feel like my team needs me to be healthy, and I want to be out there and help my team win ballgames. That's my only mindset. Everything else is kind of on the back burner."
A frequent presence in the trainer's room is one of the only things that has stopped Travis from becoming one of Toronto's top young stars. When the 26-year-old is on the field, the results have been everything the Blue Jays could have wanted: a .304/.361/.498 slash line in 2015, a mark of .300/.332/.454 in '16 and a dominant run in May '17 with a franchise-record 16 doubles.
The obvious problem is that Travis has spent more time off the field than on it. His health, along with similar concerns about shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, prompted Toronto to make infield depth one of its top priorities this offseason. Despite returning a starting duo up the middle, the Blue Jays acquired Aledmys Diaz and Yangervis Solarte to solidify the infield.
The moves raised more than a few eyebrows, and they prompted some questions about Toronto's confidence in Travis' health. The Florida native undoubtedly had to question the moves as well, but he also seems to understand the situation from the Blue Jays' perspective.
"I think it's great," Travis said of the recent moves. "We're a competitive ballclub. We look to contend. We have a very good baseball team. I understand these last few years -- me getting hurt -- makes things a little bit confusing sometimes. I'm really happy that we've brought in some guys who have proven themselves.
"Diaz was an All Star in '16, and Solarte has been doing it a long time. I heard he's a really good guy, and I've always liked to watch him play. I'm excited, man. I want to win. If I'm not the best guy to be out on that field, then take me off. That's kind of how I roll."
Travis is expected to be a full participant during Spring Training, but the exact timing remains to be seen. Travis referenced needing to pass at least "a few" tests before he receives clearance from the medical staff. But he said there have been no setbacks along the way, and he continues to progress.
"Running, for sure, is my next step," Travis said. "I have about a month until Spring Training right now. That should be the next step, and after that, it's probably being able to maintain running for multiple days.
"It's a progression, man. I have one speed. I play hard. You have to understand there's a time to maybe put it into fifth, sixth gear. Sometimes you have to learn how to play a little bit slower. It's something I've talked about for a long time. It's something I've always wanted to be better at. That's my focus."
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.