Bonifacio learned from Butler

A few years ago when Emilio Bonifacio was advancing in Arizona’s Minor League system, he learned a lot about the game from a pretty good former big leaguer.

Brett Butler, a speedster and an excellent bunter in his 17-year MLB career, was Bonifacio’s manager at high Class A and Double A.

“He was my manager for two years, in high A and Double-A,” said Bonifacio, a native of the Dominican Republic. “He talked to me about how to bunt. I like him.”

Butler these days is managing Arizona’s Triple-A Reno.

With 17 years of big league seasons and 2,375 career hits under his belt, Butler offered plenty of advice to the speedy Bonifacio.

Bunting is a part of Bonifacio’s game that continues to develop. Florida is looking for the speedster to find ways to get on base, and make things happen.

After a scorching start, Bonifacio has quieted the last two games in Atlanta. He has gone hitless with seven strikeouts in his last 10 at-bats.

On Friday night at Washington, Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez gave Bonifacio a day off. Cameron Maybin replaced Boni in the leadoff spot.

Gonzalez said the 0-for-10 stretch wasn’t the breather.

“That’s not the column, I’m worried about,” Gonzalez said. “The strikeouts. It’s the Ws that I’m worried about.”

With Washington starting lefties John Lannan on Friday and Scott Olsen on Saturday, Gonzalez was leaning toward giving Bonifacio one of the two days off.

It happened to be Friday.

Maybin also has struggled at the plate. The two youngsters are still learning.

Bonifacio says he started chasing pitches up in the zone, citing that for a reason for his slight slump.

“I have to see better pitches,” Bonifacio.

Early in the season, Bonifacio said he was effective hitting pitches down in the zone. An adjustment some pitchers are making are to elevate in the zone.

“There is a lot of scouting out there,” Gonzalez said. “I’ve said it from the very beginning, [Boni] and Maybin, we’re going to be patient with them. They’re going to go ups and downs.

“Yeah, there are going to be some adjustments. It’s hard on veteran guys.”

— Joe Frisaro

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