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Gibbons: Classic creating opportunities for others

Travis, Donaldson progressing in respective rehabs
March 13, 2017

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The World Baseball Classic is in full swing and has snagged six Blue Jays from Spring Training in the process -- so how does that impact the job of manager John Gibbons?"It doesn't affect us really now, [our players in the Classic] are playing good competitive ball

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The World Baseball Classic is in full swing and has snagged six Blue Jays from Spring Training in the process -- so how does that impact the job of manager John Gibbons?
"It doesn't affect us really now, [our players in the Classic] are playing good competitive ball -- I think it can do wonders for some of those guys," said Gibbons. "You hope there's no injury, [Dalton Pompey] got a concussion the other day ... you don't want to see that. [But] I think it helps guys, it helps rev them up."
Gibbons knows he has an experienced club, and his spring plan was to rest many of his veterans anyway.
Spring:Tickets | Ballpark | 40-man roster | NRIs
"Generally, the way our camp is set up, we're going a little bit slower with some of our veteran older players we're getting to see," said Gibbons. "[The young guys] get so much playing time anyway. ... Regardless of WBC, they're getting a lot of playing time."

With no Jose Bautista, Russell Martin, Pompey, Marcus Stroman or Roberto Osuna around, Gibbons noted how prospect Rowdy Tellez and converted football star Anthony Alford have stepped up.
"You look at guys like Tellez, Alford -- those guys, it's a chance to show us what they can do and they've showed us a lot," said Gibbons. "Rowdy really played well, I mean he's coming fast. [Alfie] has come a long way for a guy with very limited baseball experience. He's a football kid, but I've seen some great great strides in him since last year."
"It's always good when people say they notice you and how you're doing," said Tellez, who entered Monday hitting .292 in 12 games. "Just go out there, and when I'm in the lineup do the best I can. And when I'm not, learn as much as I can and learn from everybody in camp."

While Tellez has made the most of his chances early, Alford is glad his manager has taken notice of his play too, as he has a homer and four RBIs so far.
"It's been good, coming into Spring Training, the thing that I wanted to do most was take advantage of every opportunity and learn something new about myself," said Alford. "I think so far that I have."
Worth noting
• Second baseman Devon Travis' rehab continued as he was seen running on the field in morning drills.
"He's going to start DHing some Minor League games pretty soon -- probably in the next couple days -- which is progress, so we'll see," said Gibbons. "It's kind of hit or miss -- some days he feels better than others, but he's still moving in the right direction."
Gibbons still isn't sure whether Travis will be ready for Opening Day: "I have no idea, he's got to get moving quick if he's going to do that because he needs to work. I can't eliminate that, but he's cutting it close"
• While Travis is getting closer, Josh Donaldson's return appears the closest.
"In the next couple of days, he's going to start getting some at-bats -- could be down in the Minor Leagues [or] it could be with us. He's real close," said Gibbons.

Mike Nabors is a contributor to MLB.com.