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Blue Jays can’t guarantee Devon Travis will be ready for season

Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis smiles while taking part in batting practice during baseball spring training in Dunedin, Fla., on Thursday, February 23, 2017.

Nathan Denette/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons hopes second baseman Devon Travis will be ready for the start of the season but can't guarantee it.

Travis is slowed by a bone bruise on his right knee bone. This is same knee on which he had off-season surgery to remove a small flap of cartilage.

"He's moving around, he's doing his drills," Gibbons said before Thursday's game against Philadelphia. "They have some limitations put on him. We don't want him to get carried away. I see progress but I can't tell you when he's going to be in a game yet."

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Travis had issues with the knee during last year's post-season. He hit .300 with 11 homers and 50 RBIs in 101 regular-season games.

"He's the kind of player if he can string some seasons together where he plays every day, I think he could be one of the better players in baseball," Gibbons said. "He can really hit. I think he's better defensively than when we first got him. He can hit for power someday, drive in some runs, but he's got to stay on the field."

Third baseman Josh Donaldson, who injured his right calf while running sprints Feb. 17, is hitting and taking ground balls.

"He's starting to move around pretty naturally now," Gibbons said. "When he'll play, I couldn't tell you but he's making pretty good progress."

Donaldson, the 2015 AL MVP, batted .284 with 37 home runs and 99 RBIs last season. He was an All-Star for a third straight season and helped lead Toronto to the ALCS.

GROUNDERS FOR GURRIEL

Toronto's most intriguing off-season move was the signing of Cuban prospect Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to a seven-year, $22 million contract.

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He is the younger brother of Astros infielder Yulieski Gurriel and the son of a Cuban baseball legend. Gibbons said the 23-year-old will probably start the season at shortstop with Single-A Dunedin.

"Normally you take your top athletes, play them at short just in case there's a chance they can do that," Gibbons said. "If they decide they can't, you can always move them. That's the most demanding spot, so few can do it. He may be able to."

Gurriel tweaked a hamstring in last Saturday's game against Atlanta but is expected to return this weekend or early next week.

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