Emilio Bonifacio To Start At Second Base For Toronto Blue Jays On Opening Day
Toronto Blue Jays utility man Emilio Bonifacio has won the second base job on Opening Day by default. His competition for the position, Maicer Izturis, will start at third base, replacing the injured Brett Lawrie.
It is not clear how the pieces will fall into place later in the week as Lawrie will be eligible to come off the disabled list on April 6, and manager John Gibbons confirmed that Izturis is more comfortable at the hot corner than Bonifacio.
Izturis was said to be the odds-on favourite for the starting second base job due to his superior defense over Bonifacio. However, the man with speed to burn can play a multitude of positions, and the speedster impressed the Jays with his play during spring training.
Bonifacio is batting .304 with 17 hits, two home runs and eight stolen bases in 19 spring games. If you averaged the stolen bases over a full season, Bonifacio would be in the neighborhood of 65 swipes. The veteran Izturis, who is known more for his glove, had a lackluster spring with the stick, batting .234 with 11 hits, no home runs and no stolen bases in 17 games.
A starting lineup with Bonifacio and Jose Reyes with Rajai Davis coming off the bench is enough to give opposing pitchers fits on the base paths, as the Blue Jays will be more than capable of turning singles into triples in two pitches.
We will just have to wait and see where Gibbons pencils in Bonifacio defensively after Lawrie returns to health.
Clayton Richer covers the Toronto Blue Jays for Rant Sports. Follow and interact with him on Twitter at @MLBHotCorner.