Jorge Bonifacio, while sitting at his locker on Friday afternoon, tore open an envelope, unfolded its contents and stared at a piece of paper.
It was the rookie’s first day suiting up for the Royals at home in Kansas City — and it also happened to be his first big-league payday.
Bonifacio made his Kauffman Stadium debut Friday night, batting ninth and playing right field for the team that signed him at age 16 in 2009.
The right fielder was 1 for 3 with a walk in his first game in Kansas City, a 6-4 loss to the Twins. He laced a belt high pitch on the outside edge into the gap in right-center field for a single in the ninth but was stranded when Whit Merrifield grounded out to end the game.
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Bonifacio made the Royals’ lone error of the night in the eighth inning, bobbling a line drive to right field from Max Kepler with one out. The miscue loaded the bases for Miguel Sano, who hit a two-run double to tie the game at 4-4.
It wasn’t his first time in the starting lineup. He’s been there and done that several times, on the Royals’ recent road trip. And in the five games he played for the Royals heading into Friday night — including his big-league debut last Friday in Arlington, Texas — he batted .294 (5 for 17) with a homer and two RBIs.
“It’s been pretty good,” Bonifacio told a scrum of Kansas City reporters before the Royals played the Minnesota Twins on Friday. “You guys saw the other day I got my first hit, my first homer, my first game. It was an exciting moment for me and my family.”
But for a 23-year-old whose brother is an 11-year veteran of the league, there was still some magic in getting to step over the first-base line for his first start in front of a home crowd.
Still, Bonifacio, heading into Friday, had yet to experience his first victory with the Royals.
At the locker most recently occupied by Raul Mondesi, who was sent down to Class AAA Omaha in Bonifacio’s stead, Bonifacio glanced at his pay-stub and talked a few things over with neighbor Cheslor Cuthbert. Bonifacio put the envelope away, killed some time in the clubhouse and eventually headed out to the field for batting practice.
In the dugout, Royals manager Ned Yost was asked what impressed him most about the 6-foot-1, 195-pound player he now had roaming his outfield.
“Everything,” Yost said of Bonifacio. “He’s a young kid with a lot of energy. Pretty consistently a darn good at-bat for a young guy ... He’s got a good eye and is a good defensive player.”