It may seem strange that it took until Saturday for Emilio Bonifacio to make his first appearance for the Royals at second base.
Since being acquired from the Blue Jays on Aug. 14, Bonifacio had played third base and center field. But he’s right at home at second base.
“That’s my original position,” said Bonifacio, who made his major-league debut with the Diamondbacks in 2007. “I came up at second base. When I got up to the majors, they started moving me around.”
Bonifacio, who has also been with the Nationals and Marlins, has played all three outfield positions, third base and even shortstop. He admitted that moving between the outfield and infield does have its challenges.
“It’s a little bit tough, because when you’ve been in the outfield and then you move to the infield, the ball gets to you a little faster, so you’ve just got to stay down and be prepared,” Bonifacio said.
Bonifacio entered the game batting .241 with three RBIs, five walks and seven stolen bases in nine games. Manager Ned Yost inserted Bonifacio in the No. 2 spot in the lineup.
“He’s a switch hitter. He can bunt. He can do some things. He can run,” Yost said. “When Toronto went on a good run this year, they had a pretty good run, and Bonifacio was hitting second then, too.”
Bonifacio made 14 starts over a 17-game stretch in June during which Toronto went 14-3. However, he hit just .196 during that time.
On Saturday night, Bonifacio was one for three with a walk and he scored a run.
Catcher Salvador Perez got Saturday night off. While Perez, who is hitting .268 with five home runs and 49 RBIs, had a previous stint on the disabled list, Yost said this time he was merely giving his catcher a rest. The Royals are in a stretch of 44 games in 44 days.
“Looking for spots during these 44 days where he’s got to have days off,” Yost said.
George Kottaras, who is hitting .175 with a .371 on-base percentage, started in Perez’s place.
In the majors, Kottaras and Chris Iannetta of the Angels are the only batters who have more walks than hits (minimum 80 plate appearances). Kottaras entered Saturday with 23 walks and 14 hits; Iannetta had 60 walks and 55 hits.
Against the Nationals, Kottaras was one for four.
Right-hander Felipe Paulino reported no-ill effects Saturday, one day after making a rehab start for Class AAA Omaha.
“Physically, I feel right,” Paulino said. “Not perfect, but right. I feel the right way.”
In five innings Friday, he allowed six runs and nine hits with one strikeout and one walk. He gave up five doubles and two home runs.
“Triple-A is a good league,” Paulino said. “I just tried to make my pitches and they hit me. It’s part of the game, part of the rehab.”
Paulino, who had Tommy John surgery last year, threw 80 pitches, including 52 for strikes.
“The good thing is I’m building up and I feel like I’m going the right way,” Paulino said.
Negro Leagues salute
Saturday’s game featured a salute to the Negro Leagues. The Royals wore 1942 Kansas City Monarchs uniforms, and the Nationals donned Washington Homestead Gray uniforms from that season. In 1942, the Monarchs swept the Grays in four games in the Negro Leagues World Series.
Select game-worn uniforms will be auctioned at
with proceeds going to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
Minor league update
• Left-hander Sam Selman threw eight no-hit innings for Class A-Advanced Wilmington, but he didn’t get a decision as the Blue Rocks won 1-0 in 10 innings. Selman, a second-round pick in last year’s draft, struck out 11 and walked two. He was pulled from the game after throwing 97 pitches.
• Infielder Hunter Dozier, the Royals’ first pick in this year’s draft, left his game with Class A Lexington after being hit in the hand by a pitch.
• Left fielder Alex Gordon threw out Ryan Zimmerman, who was trying to stretch a single into a double in the first inning. Gordon has 11 assists.
• Sunday’s game will be the Royals’ final interleague contest of the season. They are 8-11 in inter league games this season.
• First baseman Eric Hosmer was one for four with an RBI. He is hitting .337 (33 for 98) with 17 RBIs in August.
• Third baseman Mike Moustakas was two for four and is batting .305 since the All-Star break (.305).