SPORTS

Blue Jays rookie Devon Travis says Dalton Pompey's slump won't last

04/21/2015 07:12 EDT | Updated 07/15/2015 12:59 EDT
TORONTO - Devon Travis knows what fellow rookie Dalton Pompey is going through.

His message to the young Canadian: this slump won't last. And he can say that from experience.

Travis, who led the Blue Jays — and all major league rookies — in batting average (.356) and RBI's (12) before being sidelined with a rib injury on Sunday, started last season for the double-A Erie SeaWolves with just six hits in his first 50 at-bats.

"It's hard to sleep at night. You're telling yourself 'what do I have to do to get back up to .300, what do I have to do to get back up to .200?,' Travis said of last year's slump. "You start counting at-bats and I just tell (Pompey) you can't get stuck in all that.

"It's early. He'll be fine. He's such a talented guy and as soon as he lets loose — I think he's pretty close — he's going to have a lot of success."

Pompey, from Mississauga, Ont., is batting .188 with 12 strikeouts through 48 at-bats to start the year heading into Tuesday night's game. On Sunday, the 21-year-old misplayed a ball in centre field that led to three Atlanta runs in an eventual 5-2 loss to the Braves.

After that game, Pompey took responsibility for the loss and apologized to his fans and teammates. He also admitted he had been playing "scared."

"That's probably a bad choice of words to use because I don't think that's the case," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of Pompey's comments. "It's not uncommon now for young guys, if they're scuffling a bit they're feeling the heat.

"I don't think it's scared but maybe they hesitate a little bit more than they normally would and that can slow you down. You try to be too cautious because you don't want to make a mistake, but you have to play the game all out."

Travis, who's good friends with Pompey — the two were roommates during spring training — chalked up Pompey's struggles to him simply trying too hard to succeed at the big league level.

"Everybody wants to get off to a good start," Travis said. "He's probably pressing a little bit, trying to do things he's never done. And Dalton's a pretty laid back guy, he's talented, let's his instincts take over, so he's probably putting a little extra pressure on himself.

"Once he gets settled in he's a scary guy to watch. We've been talking, I just tell him 'hey, relax man, just do what you've done to get here.'"

Pompey hit .231 through 17 games in the big leagues as a September call-up last season. He started 2014 in single-A Dunedin and rose through three minor league levels before making his major league debut.

___

Follow @ThrowinSmoke on Twitter

MORE:cpSports