Earlier in the day, manager John Gibbons was confident a DL stint wouldn't be needed, but that changed late Thursday. The move is backdated to May 17.
Prior to the Blue Jays' series finale, Travis said he hadn't swung a bat in two days, but beyond that he "didn't really know" how well he was progressing.
"It's frustrating," he said. "I'm hoping it's getter better day by day."
The 24-year-old's shoulder injury originally occurred back on April 30 when a hard ground ball caught him in the left collarbone after taking a bad hop. After missing one game, he went on to play in 14 more before he began his recent string of absences.
Steve Tolleson has started in five straight games at second base in place of Travis.
The addition of Kawasaki should get the Blue Jays through their weekend series against the Mariners. He gives the team a backup infielder as the club awaits the return of starting shortstop Jose Reyes, who began his rehab assignment Thursday and is expected to rejoin the team on Monday in time for its series opener against the White Sox.
Kawasaki is hitting .222 (16-for-72) in 23 games with the Bisons.
Injuries have depleted the Blue Jays' lineup of late.
The outfield is hurting, with injuries to Michael Saunders (bone bruise in his left knee) and Jose Bautista (strained right shoulder) creating holes that have been filled by the likes of depth players Danny Valencia, Chris Colabello and Ezequiel Carrera.
Saunders could miss up to six weeks, while Bautista is making slow progress as he undertakes a light throwing regime. The injury has limited his ability to throw, but not swing, allowing him to assume the designated hitter role while he heals.
"He's starting to build some things up, he's been playing some catch," Gibbons said of his star outfielder. "When he'll be ready for the field, we don't know yet."
Backup catcher Dioner Navarro (left hamstring tear) is getting better, but there's still no timetable for his return, Gibbons said.