CHICAGO -- The Cubs designated veteran second baseman Darwin Barney for assignment to clear a roster spot for Emilio Bonifacio, who was activated from the disabled list, the team announced on Tuesday.
Barney, 28, is a career .244 hitter since breaking in with the Cubs in 2010. He won a Gold Glove in 2012 after tying a major league single-season errorless record of 141 games. He was hitting .230 this season with two home runs and 16 RBIs including a .385 batting average in 39 at-bats in July.
"He can do a lot of things on the field to help a winning team," Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said Tuesday. "Hopefully through this process we can get him to a place where he can help a contender and get a feel for a pennant race."
Barney's two-day paternity leave earlier this month opened the door for his possible successor, as rookie Arismendy Alcantara began his career with a four-hit game in his second big-league start. Alcantara was supposed to be sent back to the minors once Barney returned, but the Cubs changed their mind and it's Barney who's on the way out.
"He got in a position here where playing time started to be scarce for him -- whether it was [Luis] Valbuena, whether it was Bonifacio or it was Alcantara -- and that necessitated the move," Hoyer explained.
Barney hit .276 in his first full year in the major leagues in 2011 but his average steadily declined. He hit .254 in 2012 and just .208 in 2013. He lost his starting job to Bonifacio at the end of spring training this season and amassed just 204 at-bats this year.
"No one takes this part of the job lightly," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. "He was starting to improve a little bit. I do believe he will land on his feet."
Bonifacio has been out since last month with an oblique strain. The Cubs have ten days to trade, release or place Barney on waivers.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.