Emilio Bonifacio joined the Royals last Wednesday but didn’t join the team until Friday’s five-game series opener in Detroit.
By BLAIR KERKHOFF
The Kansas City Star
That made Tuesday’s contest against the Chicago White Sox his first game in Kauffman Stadium as a Royal. He was hitless in two trips with a walk in the Royals’ 2-0 loss.
Bonifacio had a productive trip to Motown, going five-for-19 (.263) and became the first Royals player to steal four bases in a series since Scott Podsednik in 2010. He also stroked three doubles and collected his 500th career hit.
“It was why I wanted to get traded here, to be in a race and help,” said Bonifacio, who was acquired from the Blue Jays for cash considerations or a player to be named later.
Bonifacio opened Tuesday’s game in center field as the Royals continue to fill in for Lorenzo Cain. Bonifacio also played third in Detroit as Mike Moustakas continued to recover from a calf injury.
In 94 games for the Blue Jays this season before his arrival, Bonifacio was the ultimate utility player, playing second, third, all three outfield positions and designated hitter. He never knows where he’s slotted when he arrives at the ball park.
“The three years I’ve been that kind of player,” Bonifacio said. “Everything is mental. I have to be ready for any role.”
That role might include an occasional shot at leadoff.
“He could be,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He doesn’t walk (but) if you’re hitting .300 it’s a different story. So yeah, it’s a possibility.”
Yost also said Bonifacio and Jarrod Dyson are likely to platoon in center until Cain returns.
Cain slowly healing
Cain, who suffered a strained left oblique muscle while taking batting practice Aug. 9, is feeling better and hopes to ready soon. But by the end of the 15-day stint on the disabled list, which happens Saturday in a game against the Nationals?
“It’s coming along and I’m working hard, but I’m not certain it will happen in five days,” Cain said. “Hopefully, I can get back out there soon.”
To hear Yost, Cain’s return figures to be later rather than sooner.
“He’s getting better, but he’s not doing any functional baseball activity,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “No swinging the bat, no throwing. He’s still a bit of a ways away.”
Look for Mike Moustakas to return to third base on Wednesday, Yost said.
“He’ll definitely play (Wednesday), but right now we’re just trying to get that leg healed,” Yost said.
Yost could have put him the lineup in Tuesday’s series opener but opted to give Moustakas another day of rest against White Sox lefty John Danks.
“The leg injury affects his speed a little bit, it doesn’t really affect him much at third, but we want to get him healed,” Yost said. “We want to take every opportunity to give him a break when we can and use him against right-handed pitching right now.”
The Giants designated Jeff Francoeur, the former Royals outfielder, for assignment Tuesday. Francoeur hit .194 with no home runs and four RBIs in 22 games for the Giants.
The Royals win!
In 2005, those words had not been spoken for a club record 19 games. But with Mike Wood throwing five strong innings and Mike MacDougal recording the final four outs, the Royals defeated the A’s and Barry Zito 2-1 at Oakland on Aug. 20, 2005. The 19-game losing streak was two away from the American League record set by the Orioles in 1988. The 1961 Phillies set the modern major-league mark of 23 in 1961.
Jose Lima figured prominently in the celebration. First, he led the congratulatory cavalry charge from the dugout. He also supplied champagne for the locker room.
“I don’t want to be too excited,” Royals first baseman Mike Sweeney said. “We’ve got 39 wins and it’s the middle of August.”
The Royals finished the season 56-106, the worst record in franchise history.