Sam Travis Eager To Get Back To Field

BOSTON—When first baseman Sam Travis was reassigned from big league camp to Triple-A Pawtucket last March, it seemed hard to imagine that anything could keep him from making his big league debut by the end of the year. A powerful, direct swing that produced hard contact appeared ready for the big leagues.

That changed on May 31, when Travis blew out the ACL in his left knee in a rundown play. Just as he had been commencing a power surge with four homers in 12 games, the 23-year-old’s season was finished.

Travis batted .272/.332/.434 in 47 games, and the subsequent months of rehab from the surgical repair—and the inability to swing a bat—made him uneasy.

“You’re going to have dreams about (hitting), but you’ve got to adjust,” Travis said. “This is real life. You’ve got to make adjustments. That’s just how everything goes. It’s a pretty serious injury. You’ve got to do what you’re told by the medical staff. You’ve just got to follow the path.”

Travis was cleared to run late in 2016, and shortly after the new year he resumed taking batting practice. By mid-January, though not yet restriction-free, he took part in fielding and agility drills.

“I can’t wait to get back out there,” said Travis, a 2014 second-rounder from Indiana. “I can’t really even put it into words.”

Farm director Ben Crockett suggested that Travis will likely face an adjustment period—both at the plate and in the field—after losing the final four months of last season. Regardless, the Red Sox believe that he will get back to speed quickly.

“He showed a lot of the things (in 2016) . . . that he had done as he came up through the system,” Crockett said, “(including) an ability to use the whole field, a line-drive (swing) and a gap approach with enough power to hit the ball over the fence when a mistake was made.

“He still needs to come back and get over the final hump of the injury, but I think he’s certainly on a very good track.”


Third baseman Rafael Devers, 20, will be the youngest Red Sox player to receive an invitation to big league camp since Xander Bogaerts in 2013. Devers is on track to begin the year at Double-A Portland.

After adding left field to his résumé in 2016, Blake Swihart will enter spring training as a full-time catcher.

— Alex Speier covers the Red Sox for the Boston Globe

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