Bonifacio to start at third for Marlins
The lineup was solidified Tuesday when the Marlins optioned rookie first baseman Gaby Sanchez to Triple-A New Orleans.
Sanchez was given a chance to win a starting job after Mike Jacobs was traded during the offseason, but he hit .194 in 36 at-bats in spring training while being hampered by a bruised knee.
"We didn't want him to sit on the bench," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "It's not good for him or for us."
Bonifacio was acquired from the Washington Nationals to add depth. A natural second baseman, he impressed the Marlins with his speed and defense.
"I like him in that lineup some place," Gonzalez said. "He has made unbelievable improvement at third base, a position he didn't play. He's been learning under the gun a little bit."
Cantu played mostly third last season for Florida, but he started 23 games at first and is better there defensively. Before joining the Marlins last year he was primarily a second baseman.
"I love it leading off," Bonifacio said. "That's what I've done in the minor leagues. I really like it."
With Bonifacio, Maybin and shortstop Hanley Ramirez at the top of the lineup, their speed could put a lot of pressure on the opposing defense.
Right-handed pitcher Burke Badenhop was optioned to New Orleans. The Marlins want to get Badenhop innings in case they need an emergency starter.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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