Aaron Gleeman

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Devon Travis making progress in recovery from shoulder surgery

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Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis‘ strong rookie season was cut short by shoulder problems that eventually led to surgery in November. He was given a 4-5 month recovery timetable and Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com reports that Travis recently “received a positive review” from the doctor who performed the surgery.

Travis still has a long way to go in his recovery, ruling out Opening Day and making it unlikely he’ll play at all in April, but so far so good.

Ryan Goins is expected to be the Blue Jays’ primary second baseman to begin the season and Darwin Barney is around in a backup role, but once Travis is healthy he’s the favorite to reclaim the job after hitting .304 with eight homers and an .859 OPS in 62 games as a 24-year-old rookie.

Toronto has no shortage of big bats in the lineup, which made losing Travis for the entire second half a relative afterthought, but being able to add his right-handed bat in May or June could provide a nice boost.

Jhonny Peralta likely out 2-3 months with torn thumb ligament

Jhonny Peralta
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Cardinals shortstop Jhonny Peralta has a torn ligament in his left thumb and general manager John Mozeliak told KMOX radio in St. Louis that he could be out for “2-3 months.”

For now Peralta is heading back to St. Louis to get a second opinion, but barring some unexpectedly positive news the Cardinals will be without their starting shortstop for all of April and perhaps all of May as well. Peralta hit .275 with 17 homers and a .745 OPS in 155 games last season, making his third All-Star team at age 33.

This offseason the Cardinals acquired Jedd Gyorko from the Padres to serve as their main backup infielder and now he could be pushed into extended action at shortstop despite little experience there in the majors. Aledmys Diaz is another option to see action at shortstop after hitting .278 with 13 homers and a .784 OPS in 116 games between Double-A and Triple-A last season.

Regardless of the fill-in options, losing Peralta is a big blow to the Cardinals’ odds of holding off the Cubs and Pirates to win a fourth straight NL Central title.

Carl Crawford, bench player: “I want to play, but I understand I put myself in this situation”

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Carl Crawford is a 34-year-old four-time All-Star with two seasons remaining on a $142 million contract, but he’s slated to be a backup for the Dodgers and seems at peace with his limited role.

Crawford has been informed by rookie manager Dave Roberts that Andre Ethier will be the Dodgers’ starting left fielder, telling Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:

They told me there will be a lot of at-bats for me, but ‘Dre starts, and he’s earned it. I’ll get spot starts and be ready to pinch-hit for the pitcher a lot. That’s pretty much it–just be ready to come off the bench. I want to play, but I understand I put myself in this situation, so I knew it could happen. I’m not in position to argue with them. Right now, I do what’s asked of me and keep trying to improve myself and be sharp and ready to play when my number is called.

That’s basically the ideal quote any team would want to see from any player in this situation. Crawford wants to play more and will be ready to do so if needed, but in the meantime he understands the situation and won’t make a stink about losing at-bats to Ethier. And odds are the Dodgers will need him plenty this season anyway.

Crawford hit .265 with four homers and a .707 OPS in 69 games last season and has a .742 OPS overall in three years with the Dodgers. He’s certainly still good enough to be a starter on plenty of teams, but few teams have as much quality depth as the Dodgers.