Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Chicago Cubs [Print without images]

Saturday, February 15, 2014
Day 2 Notes: Bonifacio could make 25-man roster

By Jesse Rogers

Emilio Bonifacio
Emilio Bonifacio has a good chance of making the Cubs' 25-man roster after being released by K.C.

MESA, Ariz. -- Though new Chicago Cubs infielder/outfielder Emilio Bonifacio will certainly address his reasons for choosing the Cubs when he arrives at spring camp, it’s not hard to understand why he signed with them Saturday.

Bonifacio has a very good chance of making the Cubs' 25-man roster after being released earlier in the week by Kansas City. The Cubs have two openings among position players. Assuming they carry 12 pitchers, they have 11 other positions seemingly locked up:

Infield: Anthony Rizzo, Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro, Luis Valbuena and Donnie Murphy have jobs to go along with catchers Welington Castillo and George Kottaras.

Outfield: Nate Schierholtz, Ryan Sweeney, Justin Ruggiano, and Junior Lake are locks as well.

So there’s a spot open in the infield and outfield. Bonifacio plays both. In his career he’s appeared in the infield in 396 games and the outfield in 198. And it doesn’t hurt that he’s a seven-year veteran.

“He’s certainly been around in different organizations,” manager Rick Renteria said Saturday after morning workouts. “His experience surely doesn’t hurt us.”

So Bonifacio joins a group that includes 40-man roster guys like Logan Watkins, Josh Vitters, Brett Jackson and Mike Olt fighting for a spot. And there’s more competition with other non-roster invitees like Ryan Roberts, Ryan Kalish, Darnell McDonald, Mitch Maier and former rookie of the year, Chris Coghlan. Bonifacio should have a leg up on most of the competition.

Bullpen sessions: Newcomers Jose Veras and Jason Hammel were among pitchers to throw bullpen sessions Saturday but the most intriguing player might be highly touted prospect, righty Arodys Vizcaino.

“The ball comes out of his hand pretty easy,” Renteria said. “He snapped off really strong breaking pitches. You can see every now and then it might get away from him as it is for everyone early in the spring.”

Vizcaino is coming off two years of injuries but still can get his fastball into the upper 90’s. As previously stated by the front office, they’ll take things slow with Vizcaino as he’s ticketed for the middle of the bullpen right now -- either for the Cubs or Triple-A Iowa.

“I think he looked as good as we would want him to look right now,” Renteria said.

Cubs monitoring Castillo: Coming off right knee surgery the Cubs will keep an eye on their starting catcher.

“We’re cognizant that he had the issue with the knee,” Renteria said. “We’re going to monitor the innings that he catches just like anyone that comes off of something, especially a catcher.”

Renteria explained the caution is only for spring training.

Parker pukes: Renteria said the only “casualty” from Day 1 of bullpen sessions Friday was pitcher Blake Parker getting dehydrating and throwing up. It’s unusually hot for this time of year in Arizona, undoubtedly contributing to Parker’s woes.

“I wanted to keep going,” Parker said Saturday. “But the training staff said it probably wasn’t a good idea.”