MIAMI -- When the Marlins begin the second half of the season on Friday, against the Nationals, a familiar face should be back in the lineup.
Emilio Bonifacio, who has been on the 15-day disabled list since May 20 with a sprained left thumb and who underwent surgery on May 25 to repair a ligament, is expected to be activated prior to the series opener and be back in center field.
"It feels like it's been a long time," Bonifacio said. "It feels like a year. Finally [on Friday] I'm going to be there. ... [I'm] really excited."
When Bonifacio returns, he will wear a protective cast on his left hand -- much like an oven mitt -- when he is running the bases. Other than that, he has no limitations, and said that everything is feeling pretty strong.
Prior to his injury, which he sustained while sliding head-first into second base on a steal attempt, Bonifacio led the league with 20 stolen bases. Since he hit the DL, the Marlins' pace on the basepaths has slowed considerably.
In six rehab outings, Bonifacio is 2-for-2 in stolen base attempts, and the speedster hopes to pick up where he left off when he returns.
"Just keep doing my game," he said. "Don't ... be afraid, that's what rehab is for."