Monday, April 6, 2015

Patience, power mark Travis' memorable debut

Devon Travis might have been feeling nervous, but it certainly didn't show as he homered and scored a pair of runs in his Major League debut on Monday afternoon.
Travis played a pivotal role in the Blue Jays' 6-1 victory over the Yankees on Opening Day. A walk in his first plate appearance sparked a five-run third inning for the Blue Jays, and a solo shot later in the game provided the extra cushion.
It was the type of afternoon that Travis won't be forgetting any time soon.
"I don't think you could write the script any different," Travis said. "Having Opening Day in New York City, the Yankees, so much history with this organization. Dream come true. I'm just so thankful for everything, I don't really think anything has hit me yet. It was just an awesome day."
The home run will receive most of the attention, but the two walks were arguably just as impressive. Rookies often tend to force the issue and try to do a little too much when making their big league debuts, but Travis looked right at home from the second he stepped into the box.
His first at-bat came in the third inning, when he took three consecutive pitches from Masahiro Tanaka to move ahead in the count, 3-0. Travis then took a 91-mph fastball for a strike before letting another pitch sail out of the zone for Ball 4. Easy enough, but it could have been a lot different if Travis had been overly aggressive.
A similar approach applied to his fourth and final plate appearance. In the ninth inning, Travis fell behind, 1-2, but then was able to lay off three consecutive pitches to draw another walk. It's early, but the patience showed the type of maturity rarely found in players who have never appeared on this big of a stage before.
"We saw it all spring, but you never know when the season starts, adrenaline starts flowing," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "But he has a great eye, very disciplined, small strike zone, he's a little guy. But he did that all spring, he waited out and got pitches to hit all spring. That's where he did his damage, and that's just the way he plays. That's a bonus."
Travis became the seventh player in franchise history to go deep for his first Major League hit. The last Toronto player to accomplish the feat was J.P. Arencibia in 2010.

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