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Inbox: Will Travis step into starting role?

April 28, 2016

What do you think will happen when Devon Travis comes back? Is second base his spot, or does he have to outperform Ryan Goins to get it back? -- Ryan T.Second base belongs to Goins, and while that could eventually change, Travis will need to earn his spot on the

What do you think will happen when Devon Travis comes back? Is second base his spot, or does he have to outperform Ryan Goins to get it back?
-- Ryan T.

Second base belongs to Goins, and while that could eventually change, Travis will need to earn his spot on the field. The 25-year-old Travis hasn't played since last July because of left shoulder surgery, and once he returns to a full workload, Travis will need to post some strong numbers before he can be seriously considered.
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Travis is set to start hitting at extended spring camp on Friday, but an exact timeline for his return to second base remains uncertain. Once cleared, Travis will go on a rehab assignment, but even when that's completed, the Blue Jays could option him to the Minors if they feel he needs more time to round into form.
With so much uncertainty, Toronto will likely wait for Travis to force its hand before any roster moves are made. Goins could speed up that timeline if he continues to struggle with the bat, but the Blue Jays are content with his defense and seem to be in no hurry to make a move. Travis will have to force the issue.
I was wondering why there is such an emphasis on Aaron Sanchez having an innings limit but not on Marcus Stroman.
-- Tyler H., Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

There isn't an exact science when it comes to monitoring innings, but the concern for both of these pitchers can be found in their career numbers. Stroman missed almost all of last season with a torn ACL in his right knee, but in 2014, he got his innings total up to 166 2/3. Sanchez has never thrown more than 133 1/3 innings, and that total came back in '14.
The difference of 30-plus innings should be enough to at least limit the concerns surrounding Stroman, but it's still something the club will have to closely monitor. Drew Hutchison recently made a spot start to give everyone in the rotation an extra day of rest, and the move was made to not only benefit Sanchez, but also Stroman.
With the talk of Montreal perhaps getting a team and whispers of Vancouver being another potential location for a team, do you think British Columbia, Alberta or Saskatchewan could see some Spring Training games in the future?
-- Aaron, Edmonton, Alberta

The Blue Jays did explore the possibility of hosting games at various Canadian locations several years ago, but the main problem stems from a lack of facilities. Olympic Stadium in Montreal was a natural choice because it used to host Major League Baseball games and featured a playing surface that was still up to big league standards.
Former Blue Jays president Paul Beeston referenced BC Place in Vancouver as a possible destination, but he conceded that there were likely too many obstacles to make that a reality. BC Place is a football-first facility, and turning that into a baseball field with a proper playing surface would probably be too cost prohibitive. Nat Bailey Stadium, home of the Class A Short-Season Vancouver Canadians, is another possible site, but the stadium is too small and the weather in late March would not be ideal.
What happened to Bo Schultz? It seems apparent that an arm like his could be of use right now with the struggles of the Blue Jays' bullpen.
-- Jemel J., New York

Schultz is still recovering from offseason hip surgery, but the good news is that he's set to start an official rehab assignment with Class A Advanced Dunedin on Thursday. The offseason procedure was to stabilize a joint, but he has since made a full recovery and is now working his way back.
The 30-year-old Schultz is still a couple of weeks away and could be optioned to the Minors at the end of his rehab assignment, but it might not take too long before Schultz gets another opportunity. Without being prompted, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons on Wednesday mentioned Schultz as someone who could help the bullpen once he's ready to go.
I saw your article that did a rundown of all the Blue Jays' injuries, but I didn't see anything on Anthony Alford. What happened to his knee?
-- Michael B., Ottawa, Ontario

Alford hasn't played in a Minor League game since April 7, which is when his right knee was stepped on during a slide into home plate. The good news is that there was not any structural damage, and he is set to play in an extended spring game alongside Travis on Friday.

The 21-year-old Alford is currently ranked Toronto's No. 1 prospect by Blue Jays head trainer George Poulis discussed Alford's injury to the media on Wednesday afternoon.
"When you jam a knee, the ligaments are stressed, so the ligaments did get stressed slightly, but he feels confident and our doctors feel good allowing him to put a brace on to stabilize that knee and continue his return to plate progression," Poulis said. "He's doing very well."
Will the Blue Jays ever sit R.A. Dickey and replace him with Hutchison?
-- Chris L., Scranton, Pa.

This seems to be a pretty popular question this week, but the easy answer here is that the Blue Jays do not intend to make changes to the rotation any time soon. Yes, Dickey has gotten off to yet another slow start, but in a lot of ways, this has been par for the course during his tenure in Toronto. The club expects him to bounce back like he did in each of the previous three seasons.
Dickey has a 6.75 ERA through five starts, which is ugly but isn't much different from his performance at the start of recent seasons. From 2013-15, Dickey had April ERAs of 4.50, 5.09 and 5.23, respectively, and each year, he went on to have a strong second half. If the downward trend continues, Hutchison could receive an opportunity, but that line of thinking is still a long way off.
For now, Hutchison will retain his current role. He will likely receive another promotion when the Blue Jays want to give their starters an extra day of rest, and he remains the first line of defense if anyone goes down with an injury.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.