TORONTO — Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins expects second baseman Devon Travis to return from a sore right knee and play in the AL Championship Series and says left-hander Francisco Liriano is improving after a concussion last week.
Travis missed the final two games of Toronto’s AL Division Series sweep of Texas because of a bone bruise and might have been removed from the roster had the series gone longer.
Atkins said Travis has been able to put weight on the knee while fielding grounders, hitting, and running since being scratched from Game 2.
“Every day is better, every hour is better,” Atkins said Monday. “Feeling better and better about him being a part of the ALCS, which is why we didn’t replace him. We were optimistic that he would turn the corner and it seems like he is. It’s not definite that he’s going to be playable but we feel very good about it. Today was his best day.”
Lirianio was injured in the eighth inning of Game 2 when he struck in the back of the head by a Carlos Gomez line drive measured at 102 mph. Liriano exited the stadium before Sunday’s Game 3 in Toronto because he wasn’t feeling well but was feeling better Monday, Atkins said.
“He had an awesome day,” Atkins said. “He came in and was able to do some physical activities with no symptoms, which is a very positive sign.”
Liriano is ineligible until Game 2 of the ALCS after being removed from Toronto’s Division Series roster.
With time to rest and recuperate before the ALCS begins Friday at Cleveland, Atkins said the Blue Jays aren’t rushing to line up their rotation.
“We’ve talked a little bit about several hypotheticals,” Atkins said. “Fortunately now we can control it more than most. I think what we’ll do is take our time – not too much to make sure we’re not disrupting routine – but take our time to think through it extensively and make sure we’re putting our best foot forward for not only this series but moving beyond it.”
Right-hander Marcus Stroman, in line to pitch Game 4 of the ALDS, last started in the Oct. 4 wild card game victory over Baltimore.
“The sooner we decide the sooner we can set up more structure for them,” Atkins said.