LAKELAND, Fla. -- Emilio Bonifacio and Maicer Izturis began the Grapefruit League season on Saturday afternoon by splitting time at both shortstop and second base.
The two offseason additions are competing for the starting job at second base, but with Jose Reyes set to take part in next week's World Baseball Classic the club wants to get an early read on how they handle shortstop as well.
When Reyes needs time off this spring, the bulk of the load likely will fall to Izturis, but the ability to make Bonifacio more versatile creates even more flexibility on the roster.
"I've heard nothing but great things about him from everybody that's known him, had him, seen him play in the past," manager John Gibbons said when asked about Bonifacio's defense. "He's got that live body, he's full of energy and he has good hands."
Bonifacio has played 96 games in his career at shortstop compared to 194 for Izturis. There's little debate that Izturis is considered the better defender, but Bonifacio offers a more dynamic approach with his blistering speed on the basepaths and ability at the plate.
Toronto's plan is to have Bonifacio travel to Tampa on Sunday afternoon against the Yankees while Izturis will start at second base alongside Reyes for a home game the same day at Dunedin.