Surprise, Ariz. (TNS) — Royals manager Ned Yost walked through the clubhouse here on Sunday, making a beeline for outfielder Jorge Bonifacio’s locker. He put his arm around Bonifacio’s shoulders, talked with him for a minute and walked away after offering him an affectionate pat on the head.
Bonifacio was suspended 80 games Saturday by Major League Baseball after testing positive for Boldenone, a performance-enhancing substance that violates MLB’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. He was placed on the restricted list and is allowed to practice with the Royals as the team works through the last two weeks of spring training. However, he will not appear in any games that charge admission until he is sent on a rehab assignment prior to his suspension being lifted.
“I made a mistake and I take responsibility of the mistake I made,” Bonifacio said in a prepared statement on Sunday. “I will take all the suspension because I made a mistake. I want to say sorry to all my fans, to the team, coaches, GM and the owner of the team. I just want to keep working hard to help my team when I come back.”
Asked what he said to the 24-year-old after the news broke, Yost replied, “‘We’ll get through it.’”
“I think everybody is disappointed when something like this happens,” Yost continued. “I don’t know how it continues to happen.”
Such is life at Royals camp one day after third baseman Mike Moustakas made his homecoming official by signing a one-year contract to return to Kansas City. As he works out how he’ll get Cheslor Cuthbert enough at-bats while keeping Moustakas as the starting third baseman, Yost will also have to work out what shape the Royals outfield will take before the team returns to Kauffman Stadium for the season opener on March 29.
Non-roster invitees Michael Saunders and Tyler Collins might continue to present good cases for inclusion on the 25-man roster through the remaining 17 games, including Sunday’s contest against the Indians, in Arizona. If so, Yost might see himself carrying a fifth outfielder.
Perhaps Paulo Orlando, who is out for five or six days after tweaking his hamstring as he chased a line drive in center field in Saturday’s loss to the Diamondbacks, provides Yost enough backup through the first half of the season that he won’t need to make room on the 40-man roster for either Saunders or Collins.
Yost has a few weeks to figure it out.
At least the Royals can take comfort in the acquisition of veteran outfielder Jon Jay, who signed a one-year contract of his own merely five days ago. Jay, who formerly played for the Cubs and Cardinals, can roam any position in the outfield. He will likely spend the majority of his time at one of the corners.
“Trying to create that depth is really really important because, you know, something’s going to happen down the road, something you can’t really count on, something you can’t foresee,” Yost said. “And here you go.
“Jon Jay turns out to be a brilliant sign now.”