"Just to get to that level, he's moving up the ladder, and that's a good sign," said Blue Jays bench coach DeMarlo Hale, the team's acting manager with John Gibbons serving a three-game suspension. "That's a sign that he's getting healthy. I think at the Triple-A level, it's definitely beneficial for him because he's going to see much better pitchers -- pitchers that might try to set him up in a situation that he's going to see up here."
The timing could not be better for the Blue Jays, as the team has struggled at the plate early this season after leading the Majors with 891 runs last year.
When Travis returns to the Blue Jays, he is expected to serve as the team's everyday second baseman. Current starter Ryan Goins entered Wednesday hitting .159 with a .456 on-base plus slugging percentage in 36 games. Travis began the 2015 season as Toronto's everyday second baseman, hitting .304 with eight home runs in 62 games as a rookie.
"Seeing his approach to hitting and the pitches that he handles, he uses the whole field and he also has got some pop to the pull side and the middle of the diamond," Hale said of Travis. "I really think he's going to be a very good Major League hitter."
Per MLB rules, Travis' rehab assignment can last for a maximum of 20 days, after which he must be added to the 25-man roster or be optioned to the Minor Leagues.
Rest for Donaldson
Third baseman Josh Donaldson was not in the Blue Jays' starting lineup for Wednesday night's series finale against the Rays, with Toronto starting recently acquired infielder Jimmy Paredes at the hot corner in place of the reigning American League Most Valuable Player Award winner. With a seven-game road trip on the horizon, the Blue Jays opted to rest Donaldson, who had started all 41 games this season.
"He's going to get two or three [days off] during the year, and this is the time," Hale said. "I think it's a good time for him to just kind of regroup, but he'll be available off the bench."
Donaldson made a pair of errors in Tuesday's 12-2 loss, but Hale said the miscues did not factor into the decision. Donaldson did see time as the designated hitter in early April to nurse a strained right calf.
Morales' deal kicks in
Injured reliever Franklin Morales is still on the mend, but the veteran left-hander's contract officially became guaranteed on Wednesday.
Morales signed a non-guaranteed contract worth $2 million just before Opening Day, with the full amount becoming guaranteed if Morales was on the active roster or disabled list as of Wednesday. The 30-year-old was placed on the 15-day DL retroactive to April 7 with left shoulder fatigue and has no timetable to return.