TORONTO — When Devon Travis was told he was being optioned to triple-A, he wasn’t exactly surprised. Surprise isn’t the right word for it. Dejected might be better. Or disappointed. Crestfallen yet understanding.
The Toronto Blue Jays second baseman had just completed a month of April in which he hit .148/.212/.246 with only three extra-base hits over his first 66 plate appearances. His 2:18 walk-to-strikeout ratio was bad. His 23.3 per cent hard-hit rate was worse. His 62.8 per cent groundball rate was glaring.
Travis knew he was struggling, knew he was optionable, and knew a demotion was a possibility if the circumstances lined up. He wasn’t expecting it to happen, but when it did, he was prepared for what he was going to hear.
“I mean, I can look at my numbers and understand, that’s for sure,” Travis said. “I want to play in the big leagues. And if you want to play in the big leagues, you better do your job well. And I wasn’t. It is what it is.”
Tuesday, he was recalled from his three-week minor-league sabbatical, and played nine innings of second base for the team he thought he’d be with all season. He went 0-for-3. He struck out twice. But it felt like progress.
“Obviously, 0-for-3’s not fun,” Travis said. “But I feel like I got my swings off. I didn’t swing at any balls. It’s going the right way. I’ve just got to keep working, got to keep working.”
It took some time for Travis to access this positivity. Upon his demotion, Travis had time — probably too much time — to dwell on it, with a three-day gap between his last game for Toronto and his first for the Buffalo Bisons.
“I probably had every thought possible go through my head. That