Sports Richard Griffin: Devon Travis is healthy, playing every day ... and smiling

10:35  10 august  2018
10:35  10 august  2018 Source:   thestar.com

What we can learn from Devon Travis’s offensive turnaround

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Devon Travis comes back up to Toronto, he fills the roster spot that opened when the Toronto Blue Jays set Richard Urena to Buffalo Sunday. Just as the Blue Jays were on the path to playing good baseball and being healthy , they were dealt another blow to second baseman Devon Travis .

In this week’s instalment of the Hot Corner, Richard Griffin puts the Devon Travis demotion into He is one of the few players who encounter media members in the clubhouse, greet them by name with a smile and Then Friday, Donaldson will be back and healthy enough to play every day — they hope.

Devon Travis has been a bright light for the Blue Jays in 2018, a season that doesn’t have many of them.© Ted S. Warren Devon Travis has been a bright light for the Blue Jays in 2018, a season that doesn’t have many of them.

For Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis, 2018 has been highly unusual. Yes, it’s been difficult to smile because of the team struggles as a whole. But for a player that always tries to find the bright side, he has enough reasons to believe that things may have turned a corner for a man, the Jays’ prince of hard-luck.

Now in his fourth big-league campaign, all with the Jays, Travis has not spent a single day on the disabled list this year after missing a total of 267 days his first three years. That fact alone should leave him smiling, but there’s so much more.

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“And that gives me the most satisfaction, for sure,” Travis said prior to Thursday’s Red Sox finale, an 8-5 victory for Blue Jays. “My goal going into every year has just been to be healthy and be accountable and be there for my team.

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“What probably makes me the proudest is being able to show up every day and have our manager be able to write me into the lineup card and not have to worry about how I’m feeling. That is something I take the most pride in, just wanting to be available for this year every day.”

Travis has had any number of doubters that never believed he could get back on the field for a full season without being injured, most of them freaky. Other than a 24-day stint on option to Triple-A Buffalo to get his service time under control, giving the Jays an extra season of his service, the fact is the most games in a row that he has sat down in 2018 has been three, July 28-30. Durability has him smiling.

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The early script is to give Travis a game off every fourth day or so to keep him near the top of the batting order and on top of his game defensively as the everyday second A healthy Travis playing similar to his productive form last May could be a key to the Jays re-establishing themselves on offence.

Devon Travis is one of the most likable, grounded guys in the sport and unfortunately, his talent and what he can bring to the ball club often gets somewhat overlooked due to the number of injuries and games he has missed throughout his career. Every Day .

Though the Jays knew exactly how long they needed to send him down to the Bisons, the stint on the farm clearly had a positive effect on the 27-year-old. His first game back he was hitless and was batting .141 for the year. But since that time, he has gone 49-for-173 (.283), with seven homers, 30 RBIs and a .792 OPS in 53 games, raising his season average to .245. That has him smiling.

On Thursday, Travis was in the lineup again batting second for the sixth straight game. In his preferred lineup spot this year, he had hit .304, with a double, two homers, seven RBIs and a .942 OPS. The top of the order is the only place he wants to bat. It’s now his. That has him smiling.

“I want to be at the top of the lineup,” Travis emphasized. “I feel like that’s a good place for me. My approach really doesn’t change though, no matter where I’m hitting. It’s been a tough year. It’s been a little bit of a rollercoaster from the start. Hopefully at the end, I can look back and be a little proud, but right now in the middle of it it’s really hard to pat myself on the back and say, ‘Hey man, congratulations, you’re back up to the two-hole.’”

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“Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.”

Jays second baseman Devon Travis has missed almost as many games (161) as he has played (163) the last two seasons. But he keeps on smiling . It’s part of his personality. The smile became even bigger when I just come to the park every day and I try to get better. I try to learn from these guys.

Make no mistake, the thing that has Travis smiling the most is the knowledge that it’s been his hard work off the field in rehabbing all those injuries that has led him back to the Jays on a regular basis. It’s the knowledge his teammates can rely on him to contribute to wins without being treated with kid gloves.

“Damn right, it’s been a tough go at the beginning of my career, so far when it comes to injuries,” Travis explained with his eyes welling up as he thought back to the hours, days and months of intense exercise and rehab in Florida.

“Everybody works hard in this game … everybody. But these injuries have been tough. You’ve seen my face in the tough times. It’s not easy, man. I don’t really get too caught up in my own success. For me, it’s just a gift I was given and on any given day where I’m given a little bit of extra success out on the field, that’s just icing on the cake. But truly, being able to come into this clubhouse every day and put on a uniform and look up at the lineup card and see your name on there, that’s the feelings, that’s the things that you see now really bring me joy.”

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Here are some of the foods I eat every day to feel good. 8. Beans: Satisfyingly High in Mood-Stabilizing Fiber. “Beans, beans, good for the heart. The more you eat, the more you smile .”

It’s a start, Richard Griffin writes. Blue Jay Aaron Sanchez has put up better boxscore lines, but Second baseman Devon Travis was injured on June 4 last summer “I’ve been looking forward to this day for a while now, since I found out five days ago I was going to be playing Sunday,” Travis said.

But injuries can strike at any time and success can turn to failure without notice. Travis is well aware of the fragility of what he has accomplished and needs to improve on. He has a mature outlook on this clubhouse and his place therein. But he’s the type of person that no matter what would keep smiling anyway.

“It’s not the success, because success comes with so much failure that if you get too caught up in it, the failure will bring you down pretty low when it’s not going well,” Travis said.

Having guys like (Curtis Granderson) and (Justin) Smoak and K-Mo (Kendrys Morales) and Russ (Martin) and watching every single day how they could be hitting .200 or .400 you wouldn’t know the difference. I think that’s the most special thing. The thing you’ll talk about the most often when you’re done playing is about those guys and how they approach it. That’s the guy that I want to be.”

Those are the teammates he wants to emulate, but a team that he admires right now was Thursday’s opponent, the first-place Red Sox.

“I think the Red Sox are the most complete team that I’ve played against since I’ve been in the big leagues,” Travis said. “It’s always a big test. There are times when you want to come out for your team, try to maybe pick it up an extra gear because you have to. I try not to get too caught up in it, but they’re really good.”

Travis will have to wait a few years for this Jays team to be that good.

Richard Griffin is a sports columnist based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @rgriffinstar

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