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Emilio Bonifacio could give Cubs another trade chip

Cincinnati Reds shortstop Zack Cozart left catches throw before tagging out Chicago Cubs' Emilio Bonifacio (64) who was attempting steal

Cincinnati Reds shortstop Zack Cozart, left, catches the throw before tagging out Chicago Cubs' Emilio Bonifacio (64) who was attempting to steal second base during the third inning of a baseball game in Chicago, Sunday, April 20, 2014. Cincinnati won 8-2. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty) ORG XMIT: CXC118

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Updated: April 20, 2014 11:28PM

Emilio Bonifacio has looked every bit the part of a bona fide leadoff hitter. If he keeps it up, the Cubs could benefit come the trade deadline.

Bonifacio is hitting .366 after a 2-for-4 performance Sunday in an 8-2 loss to the Reds. He entered the weekend on a 0-for-13 skid but went 6-for-12 in the three-game series. He also has nine stolen bases for the season.

“The leadoff hitter for any ballclub is important, and I think he’s actually been doing a really nice job,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. “He’s getting on base, he’s stealing bases and again he gives us the flexibility to use him in different positions when need be.”

Rizzo battles back

Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo was in the lineup after being removed from the game Saturday with back spasms.

He continued to play well, going 2-for-3 and raising his batting average to .349. He’s hitting .484 at home. Rizzo also drew two walks for the second consecutive game, the first time he’s done that since 2011, when he was with the Padres.

However, the Cubs will monitor his back issue. Rizzo said Saturday it has flared up before.

“Even last night I think it was more precautionary and he felt that he would be fine this morning,” Renteria said.

“He’s pretty aware of his body. Most guys are, and I think even yesterday, if we had been in a tight squeeze, he would have still stayed in there.”

This and that

Sunday marked the 98th anniversary of Cubs baseball at Wrigley Field. The team played its first game at the Friendly Confines on April 20, 1916, when it beat the Reds 7-6.

◆ Shortstop Starlin Castro had a hit Sunday, giving him at least one in all nine home games this season.


Twitter: @SethGruen

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