Travis comes off DL, brings bat back to Blue Jays

Travis comes off DL, brings bat back to Blue Jays

TORONTO -- Second baseman Devon Travis made his long-awaited return to the Blue Jays' lineup on Friday night after missing the past five weeks because of an injured left shoulder.

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Infielder Munenori Kawasaki was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo in the corresponding roster move. Travis returns to Toronto as the everyday second baseman while Ryan Goins slides into a utility role with occasional starts at second and shortstop.

Travis began his rehab assignment with Double-A New Hampshire before moving up to Buffalo. He struggled early but went 3-for-4 with a double and a pair of runs scored in his final game for the Bisons on Thursday. Travis said the biggest challenge in the rehab was overcoming some mental roadblocks along the way.

"It's one thing when you're going to hit, and it's like, 'I'm wondering how this is going to feel, I don't know if it's right,'" Travis said. "If you go up with that thought process, you're already about out. Mentally, it was to get over that hump and say, 'Maybe I got out, but I let it loose on that swing and I didn't feel anything.' Once I was able to get past that hump, it was a big boost."

Travis was one of the biggest surprises for the Blue Jays during the early stages of the season. He picked up American League Rookie of the Month honors for April after hitting .325 (26-for-80) with six home runs and 19 RBIs in 22 games.

The production started to dip toward the end of that month when he took a line drive off his left collarbone. He tried to play through the pain but had just 10 hits in 54 May at-bats before realizing the discomfort wasn't going to subside until he went through an extended period of rest.

Tough hop hits Travis' shoulder

That begs the question: Which player should the Blue Jays expect now that Travis is back to full health? Is the player from April, May, or somewhere in between?

"I guess we're going to find out," Travis said with his typical smile. "I never try to get too caught up in the numbers, I just try to do everything I can to help the team win.

"If that's every at-bat I come up and there's a guy on second base, I'm going to try to hit a ground ball to the right side every time. That doesn't work out great for your numbers, but when you play the game to help your team win, the numbers take care of themselves."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.