PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 21: Emilio Bonifacio #1 of the Miami Marlins warms up before batting against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the MLB game at Chase Field on August 21, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
It seems Emilio Bonifacio just cannot stay healthy in 2012.
Bonifacio has once again landed on the 15-day disabled list, this time with a right knee sprain. He tweaked the knee at some point during the Miami Marlins' 6-5 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks, as he only took the field for the first inning before being pinch hit for and replaced in center field by Gorkys Hernandez. It seems the injury occurred in the outfield defensively and not during Bonifacio's lone plate appearance, in which he struck out looking in the top of the first inning.
This will be Bonifacio's third trip to the disabled list, and this one may be the scariest one to his long-term health. His previous two trips were due to a thumb injury that initially occurred when sliding into second base on an attempted steal and was later re-aggravated in a diving attempt on a batted ball at second base. This injury is completely unrelated to those, but it is more of a concern because of the potential for future harm with knee injuries, especially if the Marlins choose to stick with Bonifacio in the outfield rather than in the infield.
Having said all of that, Bonifacio had an MRI on the knee yesterday morning and no serious damage was noted, so this is unlikely to keep him out for long, with the estimate at three weeks. Still, the Fish may go ahead and shut him down for the rest of the season just to avoid any further wear and tear on an increasingly fragile player.Ozzie Guillen had this to say about Bonifacio's 2012 season.
"If we're not going anywhere, why are we going to take a chance for him to get hurt again, to go to Minor League rehab and do all kinds of stuff to come back?" Guillen said. "To me, it's up to him. But why risk something that shouldn't be risked?"
I am in agreement with this. With a player like Bonifacio who is struggling to stay healthy, there is no reason to risk further injury by playing him again in a lost season like 2012. The Fish are going nowhere fast this year, and trying to rush Bonifacio, especially with a knee injury, no matter how mundane, may be a mistake.
This adds another question to the situation that the Marlins have to deal with regarding Bonifacio's future. His position next season is still undetermined, and while Fish Stripes insists that the team would be better off with him at second base, there is still a question of whether the Marlins will move him away from the outfield, where they seem to like him a little more. He is likely a better defender in the outfield, but if things like knee sprains can happen more often and more chronically out there, it may be best to get him working in the infield for next year, beyond the free agent-related reasons for the move.