Steaks and siblings await Travis

Tigers prospect homers in both ends of doubleheader

Devon Travis has hit 16 homers across two levels this season. (Mark LoMoglio/

By Ashley Marshall / | August 31, 2013 7:42 PM ET

For young players early in their professional careers, life in the Minor Leagues can be hard to handle.

The adjustment from high school or college ball takes time and the everyday grind of a full-season schedule is unlike anything they've experienced.

Then there's mom's home cooking. Devon Travis can't wait to get back to mom's home cooking.

The Tigers' No. 12 prospect homered in both ends of a doubleheader Saturday, giving him five in his last six games and helping Class A Advanced Lakeland complete a sweep of visiting Tampa.

Travis, who has 16 homers across two levels this season, is two games closer to being able to return to his Florida home, where his two younger siblings and some great steak await.

"It's been tough. Really, the last two, 2 1/2 weeks has been really tough for me. I hit a slump and it was definitely getting to me," he said. "Being so close to being able to go home and wake up with nothing to do, those thoughts have been going through my mind.

"I'm looking forward to it. I love being home. I'm a big family guy and it will be great to hang out with my little brother and sister, who are both in middle school. And I'm definitely excited for my mom's cooking ... her steaks are probably my favorite. They're hard to come by in the Minor Leagues."

The Florida State League regular season ends Sunday, so Travis is one game away from being able to see his 13-year-old brother, Jordan, and his 11-year-old sister, Jada. That trip back to his home in Palm Beach County, about 45 minutes north of Miami, was one of the reasons he wasted no time putting the Flying Tigers on the board in Saturday's opener.

The 22-year-old second baseman slugged a two-run shot, added an RBI double and scored twice in a 17-0 rout. He drilled another two-run blast, singled, walked and scored two more runs in the nightcap as the Flying Tigers posted a 4-2 victory.

The Florida State product has gone deep in three consecutive games. As recently as Monday, he was mired in a 3-for-25 slump, so that makes the late-season success even sweeter.

"Our hitting coach, Larry Herndon, is such a great guy and he told me he wasn't going to alter my swing," Travis said. "He said there are ups and downs and that it's the good ones who are able to fight through the hard times.

"You succeed three out of 10 times. If you do that, you go down as one of the best ever. That's definitely hard to grasp and I'm definitely learning to appreciate that part of the game. You can do everything right and hit the ball on the nose and go 0-for-10 or you can break 10 bats, have 10 squibbers, 10 shallow bloopers and go 10-for-10."

The 0-for-10 stretches have been few and far between for Travis, who's hitting .348 between Lakeland and Class A West Michigan. He said trusting himself -- and Herndon -- was the key to getting back on track.

"I was questioning where my hands were and where my feet were," said Travis, who will play in the Arizona Fall League. "The ball looked like a golf ball [last week]. My hitting coach told me it happens to even the best hitters.

"But all year I've hit in the three spot and it definitely wasn't because I hit home runs. It was just a spot where hopefully the guys in front of me get on base and I could put the ball in play and drive the runs in."

Ashley Marshall is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @AshMarshallMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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