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Bonifacio's hot bat shifts Barney to new role

MLB.com

ST. LOUIS -- Emilio Bonifacio ranks among the Major League leaders in hits, and Cubs manager Rick Renteria has tried to get the versatile switch-hitter in the lineup every day, either in the outfield or at second. That means Darwin Barney sits.

Barney, 28, has started five of the Cubs' 10 games at second, and was not in the starting lineup Friday night for the series opener against the Cardinals.

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ST. LOUIS -- Emilio Bonifacio ranks among the Major League leaders in hits, and Cubs manager Rick Renteria has tried to get the versatile switch-hitter in the lineup every day, either in the outfield or at second. That means Darwin Barney sits.

Barney, 28, has started five of the Cubs' 10 games at second, and was not in the starting lineup Friday night for the series opener against the Cardinals.

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"I'm still getting used to finding ways to get myself prepared during the game," Barney said. "In the past, off-days were to rest. Now, I have to find a way to be mentally prepared for that first at-bat, which could be a big at-bat in the game. For me, that's the mindset I'm taking. I've got a 'C' on my chest, and we're trying to win as many games as I can."

Renteria has had Bonifacio in the outfield against left-handed starters, and said he will continue to go with matchups as the season progresses. Renteria does make sure all the players get the lineup the night before a game so there are no surprises.

"I think we're trying to give ourselves the best chance to stay in it," Renteria said.

Barney has been used as a pinch-hitter, and then stayed in the game defensively in three of the other nine games prior to Friday. A Gold Glove second baseman in 2012, he isn't used to not being in the lineup every day.

"I think he's a pro," Renteria said of Barney. "He's in a situation now where he sees the landscape and knows what's going on. He's trying to do everything he can to make sure he maintains himself.

"He's been continuing to work hard and is still doing what he's always done," Renteria said. "I think [all the players] have maintained their positiveness in the whole process. It's still early in the season and things kind of shake out and play themselves out."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

Chicago Cubs