August 18, 2015
By Brendan Kennedy
Michael Saunders’ miserable season is officially over. The Canadian outfielder the Blue Jays traded for in the offseason had been rehabbing a left-knee injury, but he was shut down by the club Tuesday.
“Yeah, it’s too bad,” manager John Gibbons said.
Saunders suffered the injury in a freak accident back in February when he tore the meniscus in his knee after stepping on an exposed sprinkler head while shagging fly balls at the team’s minor-league complex in Florida before the official opening of spring training.
The initial diagnosis was that he would be out at least until the all-star break. But he underwent surgery to remove the damaged cartilage from the knee in the hope that it would hasten his return. Saunders did make his Jays’ debut in late April, playing in just nine games before he was returned to the disabled list. GM Alex Anthopoulos has previously said Saunders, 28, remains the club’s left fielder of the future.
TRAVIS MOVING SLOW: The news isn’t much better on second baseman Devon Travis, who re-aggravated a left shoulder injury on July 29 and has been out since then. The 24-year-old, who was once a frontrunner for AL Rookie of the Year, has made little progress to date and there is no timeline on when he might be able to return.
“Slower than we thought, put it that way,” Gibbons said when asked about Travis’s progress. “I wouldn’t expect him any time soon.”
Gibbons said he expects Travis to “definitely” be back before the end of the year, but right now there’s no time frame.
STROMAN IN SIM GAME: On the brighter side, Marcus Stroman continues to make progress for a highly anticipated September return. The Jays’ budding ace — who underwent surgery in March after tearing the ACL in his right knee — is expected to pitch in a simulated game next Monday and again the following Saturday. He had been tentatively scheduled to begin a minor-league rehab assignment on Friday, but Anthopoulos told Sportsnet’s Jeff Blair on Tuesday that it’s “easier to control the conditions in a sim game.”