Chicago Cubs outfielder Emilio Bonifacio left the team’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday night with a rib cage injury, Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago reports. He didn’t last long, either, suffering the injury on the opening play of the game as he led off against pitcher Edinson Volquez.
Looking to start the game with a hit, Bonifacio smacked a grounder to shortstop but fell to the ground after making contact. It’s unclear exactly what caused the injury, but it likely happened during the swing given there was no contact or anything of the sort.
The Cubs will further evaluate Bonifacio before taking a next step, Rogers says.
Chris Coghlan replaced Bonifacio in left field, with Junior Lake sliding over to center to fill things out. Coghlan, who has struggled badly all season, was getting the day off after going 0-for-5 against Pittsburgh on Wednesday, but instead he’s being pulled into emergency duty.
Bonifacio signed a minor league deal with Chicago in February, then made the club out of spring training. He’s gotten consistent playing time between second base and center field during the season, posting a .267/.313/.346 batting line with 10 doubles, three triples and a home run in 260 plate appearances. He’s also gone 13-of-19 on stolen base attempts.
Those numbers are actually up from last season, when Bonifacio batted .243/.295/.331 in 461 plate appearances split between the Kansas City Royals and Toronto Blue Jays. He’s stolen at least 28 bases in each of the previous four seasons, though his numbers have steadily dropped from a career-high 40 steals in 2011.