Emilio Bonifacio is playing for his sixth team in eight years, and he’s performing like an All-Star.
The Chicago Cubs’ infielder/outfielder was hitting .392 with a .436 on-base percentage going into this week. Bonafacio’s sizzling start included 17 hits in his first seven games.
“A lot of friends send me texts,” Bonifacio said. “They’re happy for me.”
Bonifacio had four hits in the season-opener against PIttsburgh, and followed that with a five-hit performance in the second game of the season.
It doesn’t mean that Bonifacio will keep up his torrid pace. In 2009, he began the year 14-for-24 for a .583 average, but finished hitting .252 for the season.
Chicago signed Bonafacio in the off-season after he became a free agent. Kansas City had designated Bonifacio for assignment and he cleared waivers. Bonifacio hit just .243 last season with a .295 on-base percentage while playing for Toronto and the Royals.
After Sunday’s game at St. Louis, Bonifacio led the Cubs with nine runs scored and was tied for the major- league lead with seven stolen bases. He was seventh in hitting in the National League.
The versatile Bonifacio can play multiple positions, and can hit anywhere in the lineup.
“He’s found a home here,” Cubs outfielder Nate Schierholtz said. “He’s so valuable because he can play everywhere.”
Aaron honored: It has been 40 years since Hank Aaron slugged career homer No. 715 to pass Babe Ruth as Major League Baseball’s all-time home run leader.
And although Barry Bonds later hit 762 home runs to top Aaron’s 755, many people consider Aaron the true long-ball king.
Aaron was honored before Atlanta’s game on April 8 and was given a standing ovation. The former Braves’ player hit the record-breaking homer on April 8, 1974.
“(Aaron) set the home run record the old-fashioned way,” Braves chairman Teery McGuirk said. “You will always be the home run king of all time.”
Aaron, 80, is recovering from hip-replacement surgery, and used a walker. He thanked the fans for their “kindness.”
“I gave baseball everything that I had, everything, every ounce of my ability to play the game, I tried to play to make you the fans appreciate me more. Thank you,” Aaron told the fans.
StatsWatch: Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright led the majors in innings pitched last season. Here’s the list from 2013 –
- Adam Wainwright, Cardinals, 241.2 IP
- Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers, 236.0
- James Shields, Royals, 228.2
- R.A. Dickey, Blue Jays, 224.2
- Cliff Lee, Phillies, 222.2
- Cole Hamels, Phillies, 220.0
- Hisashi Iwakuma, Mariners, 219.2
- Justin Verlander, Tigers, 218.1
- Max Scherzer, Tigers, 214.1
- Chris Sale, White Sox, 214.1
Quotable: “I politely told him the shut the (expletive) up. I was locked and had some aggression. It just worked out I was able to tell him.” – Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins, on his response to a heckler after his game-winning homer in Philadelphia on Saturday night.
Diamond Notes: Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman will miss four to six weeks with a broken right thumb. Zimmerman injured his thumb while diving back to second base on Saturday night in a game against Atlanta. He was picked off the bag in the fifth inning. Zimmerman hit 26 home runs and drove in 79 runs last season with the Nationals…Justin Verlander got the first two hits of his career and pitched the Detroit Tigers to a 6-2 win over San Diego on Saturday. He had been 0-for-26 with 15 strikeouts in his career prior to the game. “It felt great. It’s been a long time and I can finally get all these guys (teammates) off my back,” Verlander said…Yankees outfielder Alfonso Soriano is in 50th-place on the all-time home run list after hitting the 408th homer of his career on Friday, breaking a tie with Duke Snider… Left-hander Randy Wolf, 37, agreed to a minor league contract with Arizona. Wolf, who did not pitch last season due to elbow surgery, is 132-117 with a 4.20 ERA in 14 seasons…Cincinnati’s Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips made their 792nd start together on Saturday, the most of any 1B/2B pair in franchise history.
Copyright © 2014 Bob Hurst. All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Hurst Sports Media.