Improving Bonifacio takes practice swings

Improving Bonifacio takes practice swings

Improving Bonifacio takes practice swings
MIAMI -- If everything remains on schedule, Emilio Bonifacio could be hitting off a tee on Monday.

The Marlins center fielder took 25 practice swings on Friday, marking the first time he has picked up a bat since going on the disabled list on May 20, retroactive to May 19.

Bonifacio is recovering from a May 25 surgery to repair a ligament tear in his left thumb. The injury occurred on May 18, when he jammed his finger while attempting to steal second base in Cleveland.

The Marlins are 12-18 since Bonifacio went down, and the target date for his return remains right after the All-Star break.

A switch-hitter, Bonifacio tested his thumb by taking 25 swings from the left side on Friday. On Saturday, he will add 25 swings from the right side.

"On Monday, I think we will start off the tee," he said.

Recently, Bonifacio had 14 stitches removed from the thumb. Seven stitches were used on both sides.

Bonifacio has been throwing, but not catching the ball. Perhaps next week he will be cleared to also catch the ball.

The All-Star Game is set for July 10, and Bonifacio likely would be available for the July 13 series opener against the Nationals at the earliest.

"They say they don't want to rush," the center fielder said.

Not playing has been painful for Bonifacio, who didn't make the road trip to St. Petersburg and Boston.

The Marlins dropped five of six away from home.

"I'm not saying if I were there we'd start winning," Bonifacio said. "But you want to be out there with your teammates."

Bonifacio was batting .268 with 20 steals in 21 attempts at the time he jammed his thumb.