Travis remains optimistic about a return

Travis remains optimistic about a return

ARLINGTON -- The prognosis doesn't offer a lot of optimism, but Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis hasn't given up hope that he will return before the end of the season.

Travis has been out since the end of July with what the club is still calling a strained left shoulder. He rejoined the team this week in Texas to be examined by doctors and was told that the only thing that can help the injury is additional rest.

Travis has yet to resume swinging a bat and is basically forced to sit and wait for the morning when he wakes up and no longer feels any discomfort. There is no timetable for his return, and it's anyone's guess as to when he'll eventually have one.

"Today was pretty encouraging," Travis said on Tuesday afternoon. "I guess I would be lying if I said I didn't walk into that appointment thinking that probably wasn't going to be the case. It was pretty encouraging today. He told me, 'With a little bit more rest, I think you can get back. You have stuff going on in your shoulder, and we're just looking for you to turn that corner.'"

Travis is understandably trying to remain positive, but the Blue Jays don't seem to share the same level of optimism. The recent acquisition of infielder Cliff Pennington gave the club an insurance policy in case Travis wasn't able to return, and it appears that the Blue Jays are moving forward without Travis in their plans.

The Minor League system wraps up on Sept. 7, which is the main reason behind the lack of confidence about Travis being able to make it back this season. Even once he is cleared to resume baseball activities, he would need some kind of rehab assignment or the ability to face pitching, and there simply isn't much time left for that to happen.

"I'm not going to write it off, but he's not making enough progress right now," manager John Gibbons said. "Devon was huge for us. He stepped right in as a rookie, one of the top rookies in the game. He was hitting three bills for us, driving the ball, playing good defense. So yeah, that was a kick in the gut."

Travis sustained the injury in late April, when he took a line drive off his left collarbone. That injury then began to affect the muscles in his shoulder, and it only got worse from there. He tried to play through the pain until the middle of May but eventually had to be placed on the disabled list.

He did return in late June, and by all accounts felt great. That changed during a game against the Phillies, when he aggravated the area, and the timing couldn't have been worse. He homered in the first inning of that game and was finally feeling like his old self until the pain resurfaced later that night.

"The day that I got hurt again, I was hitting early [batting practice]," Travis said. "I hadn't hit a home run in BP or in a game since I got hurt the first time, and that day in early BP, I hit a home run and was like, 'Man, finally I'm starting to get it back a little bit.'

"I didn't feel anything [before that]. I felt 100 percent, and I didn't feel like I rushed anything. It was a five-and-a-half-week rehab process the first time. I don't feel like I rushed anything, I felt good."

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.