The Cubs opted for offense over Gold Glove defense at second base when Emilio Bonifacio was given the majority of playing time to start the season.
Darwin Barney was hitting below .200 coming off the bench. But since Bonifacio went on the disabled June 13 with an oblique strain, Barney has been playing regularly and improving at the plate.
He is hitting .231 (15-for-65) with seven doubles in the last 21 games.
“We know he’s a former Gold Glover, and he carries himself well on the field defensively,” manager Rick Renteria said. “We’ve been happy with how he’s been putting together his at-bats. He’s had good at-bats against righties and lefties, and you know he’s a pro.
“He didn’t come into the season playing every day at second base. We’ve had conversations, and he’s dealt with it quite well, continued to prepare himself daily to play the game and contributed in other ways even when he’s not playing. He’s been a good sport, and he’s been doing well.”
Bonifacio is still on the DL but could return soon, and Barney might have made a case for staying.
“Baseball’s that way,” Renteria said. “Things happen, and before you know it, you’re back in the lineup, and that’s just the game.”
The prospects at Class AAA Iowa are getting a lot of attention, and pitcher Dallas Beeler thinks the hype is justified.
“They’re good,” he said of Kris Bryant and Javier Baez, “and it’s fun to pitch behind them. Knowing they’re backing you up on the field and then at the plate, you never know when that magic will happen.”
The doubleheader was played at the request of the city to avoid a game on Sunday during Pride Day events around Wrigleyville. It was the first regularly scheduled doubleheader for the Cubs since July 4, 1983, when they hosted the Montreal Expos. The doubleheader also gave the Cubs a rare scheduled day off Sunday. It was their first Sunday off since June 19, 1932.
Contributing: Brian Sandalow