Bonifacio adjusting to reduced role for Royals

Bonifacio adjusting to reduced role for Royals

KANSAS CITY -- So far, the player affected most by the Royals' acquisition of Melky Cabrera has been outfielder Jorge Bonifacio.

Bonifacio, who had started nearly every game since he was called up on April 21, has seen his playing time drastically decrease. He made just his second start in Friday night's game against the Mariners since Cabrera was acquired from the White Sox in a trade on Sunday. Bonifacio also started on Thursday in place of center fielder Lorenzo Cain, who was resting due to a hamstring issue.

"It's kinda tough," Bonifacio said. "I try to be ready for whatever opportunity I get. I don't put it in my mind if I'm not playing today. I don't cool down."

Bonifacio hit 14 home runs entering Friday, which ranked as the fourth most among American League rookies. He had reached base in 32 of his previous 35 games. From June 18 to July 18, he had a 22-game on-base streak, which was the second longest such streak by a rookie in Royals history.

Despite the respectable offensive numbers, Bonifacio has become the odd man out. He said his approach and routine have not changed as a result. He still watches video, hits in the cage, takes batting practice and works out -- though he works out longer if he's not starting.

"I prepare every day like I'm playing," Bonifacio said.

Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar said Bonifacio has remained positive.

"That's not easy, not being every day in the lineup," Escobar said.

Royals manager Ned Yost said the lesser workload could be beneficial for Bonifacio as the season continues.

"Because he's not playing every day doesn't mean it's going to negatively affect him," Yost said. "It could be very positive for him right now."

As a rookie, Bonifacio has never played a full Major League season. The Minor League regular season ends at the beginning of September. As Yost said, the extra month -- and maybe more if the Royals make the postseason -- can be grueling.

"It's like the end of a marathon that you haven't practiced for," Yost said. "These off-days here are actually going to be beneficial for him to help him stay strong [and] let him get his feet underneath him a little bit."

Wilson Alexander is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.