Travis displaying advanced hitting approach

Travis displaying advanced hitting approach

CHICAGO -- The hitting polish that Sam Travis demonstrated throughout college and the Minor Leagues has manifested itself so far in his first opportunity in the Major Leagues.

Travis, who didn't start on Wednesday with the Red Sox facing a righty, is 5-for-11 with five runs and two doubles in his first three starts.

"Even when you see him take close borderline pitches, and he doesn't offer at them, there's a calmness in there that's pretty rare for a young guy just getting his Major League career underway -- and I think it's even acknowledged by some of the guys across the field," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "You hear some of the comments on the field where it's like, 'Wow, this kid only has 10 plate appearances in the big leagues and it doesn't look that way.' There's a high level of comfort for him in the box."

The first baseman, who is ranked the club's No. 3 prospect by, projects as a player who should hit with consistent power once he gets a chance to play every day.

"He impacts the baseball," Farrell said. "There's hard contact. It's great to see him be able to take what he showed us in two Spring Trainings, and now you're into the regular season and it's still there. It's not like he's been exposed to a breaking ball or offspeed pitch. I think that comes from his ability to see the ball and understand where his strike zone ends and not expand beyond that."

The only issue at the moment is making sure Travis gets enough playing time. The reason he was brought up for his current stint is that the Red Sox knew they would be facing at least one left-hander in four straight series.

Travis' slick grab

If the Red Sox wind up with a long stretch against righty starters, Travis could be sent back down to Triple-A.

"That will come down to a point of, how many at-bats can we get him?" Farrell said. "As I mentioned, Mitch [Moreland] is going to get the right-handers, and how he fits in in that scenario, we knew this was a stretch of games of left-handed starters that presented those opportunities. He's done nothing to disappoint us, for sure."

Another thing that would lead to Travis going back to Pawtucket is Hanley Ramirez getting healthy enough to play first base against lefties. Due to right shoulder woes, he has only played three innings in the field this season.

"I'm never going to close the door on that," Farrell said. "That'll be something we'll continue to work with Hanley on. Hopefully that will present itself with a more regular option, because that's the way we put the roster together coming into Spring Training and the season."

Worth noting

• Righty reliever Carson Smith will take a key step toward starting a Minor League rehab assignment when he throws batting practice against teammates on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium. Smith underwent Tommy John surgery on May 24, 2016. He could be a key addition to Farrell's setup crew.

Brock Holt continues to engage in baseball activities on this road trip as he recovers from vertigo, but the Red Sox haven't set a timetable yet for him to restart his Minor League rehab assignment.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.