Baseball / Sports

The Chicago Cubs' Starlin Castro reacts after striking out in the sixth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Wrigley Field in Chicago on Wednesday, July 30, 2014. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/MCT)

Cubs fall to Rockies as Bonifacio is on clock for trade

CHICAGO -- Emilio Bonifacio was held out of the Chicago Cubs' lineup Wednesday night, and it appears highly likely the speedy switch-hitting infielder-outfielder will be traded before the 3 p.m. Thursday deadline.

Bonifacio, 29, appeared headed to the Kansas City Royals or San Francisco Giants, according to scouting sources. The Royals are battling for a playoff berth in the American League Central and need a spark in their lineup with a speedster such as Bonifacio in the spacious outfield of Kauffman Stadium.

The Giants also have been in pursuit of Bonifacio, although one of their top scouts wasn't present Wednesday night as the Cubs lost to the Rockies 6-4 in 10 innings despite a career-high 11 strikeouts from Travis Wood and Luis Valbuena's two-run, game-tying home run in the eighth.

Bonifacio said after the game that his agent, Paul Kinzer, informed him after the game he could be dealt.

"It's not in my hands," Bonifacio said. "I'm just going to come to the field and be a part of the Cubs. It's nothing I can do. Just wait.

"You want to be part of that (a playoff contender), but right now you're still part of the Cubs. I just have to keep pushing for the Cubs."

Bonifacio said it didn't feel odd to arrive at the park and take batting practice but not play because of the possibility he might be traded.

"I've been there before," Bonifacio said.

Bonifacio wasn't the only Cub who could be headed elsewhere. The Baltimore Orioles, who scouted Bonifacio, also are looking at left-handed relief help. Cubs left-hander James Russell remains available, although right-handed batters were hitting .103 against Russell, compared to left-handers' .295 mark.

Left-hander Wesley Wright also is available.

Before the game, the Cubs acquired left-hander Felix Doubront from the Boston Red Sox for a player to be named. Doubront, 29, was 2-4 with a 6.07 ERA and has a lifetime record of 26-22 with a 4.82 ERA. He has given up 10 home runs in 59 1/3 innings this season.

The Cubs will determine where Doubront will be assigned after he arrives.

Meanwhile, if a deal between the Royals and Bonifacio is completed, it would complete a strange reunion, as well as possibly give the Cubs an opportunity to promote prized prospect Javier Baez sooner.

Bonifacio ended the 2013 season with the Royals after being dealt from the Toronto Blue Jays on Aug. 14 and batted .285 with 16 stolen bases.

But the budget-minded Royals elected to designate Bonifacio for assignment in February after signing left-hander Bruce Chen and shortly after agreeing to a one-year, $3.5 million contract with Bonifacio, who was arbitration eligible.

Because the contracts of arbitration-eligible players are not guaranteed, the Royals paid Bonifacio only a portion of his contract after waiving him and the Cubs signed him at the start of spring training.

After missing nearly six weeks because of an oblique strain, Bonifacio is batting .400 (14-for-35) with four doubles and one home run in eight games since.

After the game, manager Rick Renteria said of Bonifacio, "we'll deal with tomorrow tomorrow."

Before Wednesday's game, he was guarded in stating he didn't expect Bonifacio to be traded but said it was only prudent to hold him out of the lineup.

"I'm not anticipating it," Renteria said. "But a lot of things are going on. It's best to let it all shake out and see where it's going."

Because the Cubs played a 6-hour, 27-minute game that ended Wednesday morning, players were allowed to arrive later than usual.

Before the game, the Cubs acquired Class A pitcher Jonathan Martinez from the Los Angeles Dodgers to complete the trade for second baseman Darwin Barney, who was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque.

Martinez, 20, was 7-5 with a 3.47 ERA in 19 games for Class A Great Lakes.

(c)2014 Chicago Tribune

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Distributed by MCT Information Services

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