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Bonifacio aims to win second-base job

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- This year's Spring Training for the Blue Jays is more about getting ready for the season than it is about finalizing the Opening Day lineup.

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Toronto's roster is essentially set in stone. With the exception of some bullpen jobs, the decision on which players will head north has already been made.

The only real position that is up for grabs is second base, where Emilio Bonifacio and Maicer Izturis will battle for the everyday job.

It's a unique situation for Bonifacio, who became a bona fide Major Leaguer in Miami, but that doesn't mean the uncertainty has the energetic player any less optimistic about his prospects with the Blue Jays.

"It's really exciting, especially with the team we're going to have here," Bonifacio said on Saturday afternoon, the day all position players were required to report for physicals. "I think it's going to be a fun year.

"I'm really happy to be a part of the Blue Jays. It feels pretty good to be a part, to be traded [from Miami], to be here."

Izturis entered Spring Training as the early favorite to win the job, but there is still a chance Bonifacio could enter the mix with a strong camp. If he's unsuccessful, the 27-year-old Bonifacio should find plenty of opportunities to get into the lineup with his ability to play all over the infield and outfield.

In the past, Bonifacio has played all three outfield positions in addition to second, shortstop and third base. The versatility should prove valuable in the event of injuries, but it's currently the opening at second base that has him most intrigued.

"That's the position I've been playing my whole career, until the last three years I've been playing everywhere," said Bonifacio, who stole 30 bases in just 64 games last season.

"I think it will be pretty exciting being with [Jose] Reyes. Last year, I was hitting behind him -- I just got hurt, but I think we can do something."

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