Long Island Ducks Sam Travis bats against the Dogecoin Ball...

Long Island Ducks Sam Travis bats against the Dogecoin Ball Club ground, Saturday, April 16, 2022 at Fairfield Properties Ballpark in Central Islip. Credit: George A Faella

Sam Travis hasn’t left his feet behind him yet, and that’s a good thing. Travis stood in the Ducks clubhouse Friday afternoon and spoke about being ‘where my feet are.’ And yes, there is a cliché aspect to that phrase, but a practical one as well. The Ducks first baseman is chasing less, not swinging out of those shoes to get to bad pitches, and he’s seeing results.  

Travis, who played parts of three seasons for the Red Sox (2017-19), is having his most productive season in years — slashing .323/.384/.508 in 52 games. His average is second on the team among qualified batters (former-Met Alejandro De Aza leads at .329, but has 46 fewer at-bats than Travis’ 195). Travis’ 52 RBIs are tied for fifth in the league, entering play Saturday.

“I feel like I’m chasing a lot less,” Travis said. “We’re all human. We’re going to chase pitches and get fooled, but the key is to minimize that and get yourself a good pitch to hit. I think I’ve done a lot better job so far, but we’ve got a long way to go.”

This is the first season since 2015 where Travis has played every day. In 2016, he tore his ACL two months into the season. From 2017-19 he yo-yo’d from Fenway Park to the minor leagues and, once in the big leagues, primarily played against lefties. In 2020, he didn’t play because of the pandemic and last season he missed eight weeks after being hit in the hand.

It was, by his own admission, a long time to be out of rhythm.  

“I firmly believe that goes a long way for me personally,” he said. “But at the same time that’s not an excuse for not producing in the past. That’s nobody’s fault but my own. I’m here now, where my feet are, trying to do what I can to make things happen.”

Ducks manager Wally Backman is surprised a major league affiliate hasn’t picked up the 28-year-old Travis.

“To be honest, I don’t know why he’s here,” Backman said. “I think he should still be in affiliated ball for sure. He was a prospect at one time with Boston and I can see why.”

After years of fits and starts, Travis is starting to see it too.

“I know I’m an everyday player,” he said. “I just had to prove it.”

Marrero to Mets

The Mets purchased the contract of infielder Deven Marrero last week and sent him to Triple-A Syracuse. Marrero hit .238 with a home run, 21 RBIs, and 22 walks in 50 games with the Ducks, impressing Backman with a sparkling glove.

Marreo played parts of six seasons with the Red Sox, Diamondbacks and Marlins. He played 10 games with the Marlins last season.

Backman said Marrero’s aggressiveness at the plate improved as the season moved along, something that could help him get back to the major leagues. While he played  shortstop with the Ducks, the majority of his major league playing time came at third base.

“His defense plays,” Backman said. “Without question, his defense is what got him to the big leagues. He (came up) in the era where a lot of organizations wanted players to see five pitches per at-bat. So, he was taking a lot of pitches. That’s not how you’re successful offensively. He started to swing the bat more and his offense got better.”    

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