Toronto Blue Jays' Emilio Bonifacio Can Lock Down Second Base with a Great April

Jon ReidCorrespondent IIMarch 29, 2013

DUNEDIN, FL - MARCH 2: Emilio Bonifacio #1 of the Toronto Blue Jays hits a second inning home run during a spring training game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium on March 2, 2013 in Dunedin, Florida. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Maicer Izturis or Emilio Bonifacio?

It may be the biggest debate among fans of the Toronto Blue Jays besides the whole Ricky Romero situation.

With news emerging the other day that the Jays' everyday third baseman Brett Lawrie will begin the 2013 MLB regular season on the 15-day disabled list, the debate between Izturis fans and Bonifacio fans can take a break for a the first few weeks of the season.

Jays manager John Gibbons announced that utility player Mark DeRosa will share duties with Izturis to begin the season at the hot corner.

With the Jays still not decided on either Izturis or Bonifacio at second (Bonifacio's defense has been shaky this spring, but he's a much better option at the plate), the month of April could be pivotal for the 27-year-old Dominican native.

If he can continue to impress at the plate as he's been doing this spring (he's hit .306, has an OPS of .822 and has stolen eight bases in 65 plate appearances against fairly high quality opposition) and tighten up defensively, he would almost force the coaching staff to hand him the full-time starter's job at second base, even after Lawrie returns.

As a switch-hitter with blazing speed, who's always shown promise as a top-of-the-order table-setter, Bonifacio has been shaky defensively and was even used in the outfield last season by the Miami Marlins.

Shoring up defensively and continuing to hit well and steal bases at an alarming rate would not only cement Bonifacio as the Blue Jays' everyday second baseman, but it would add yet another element to this team that will give opponents headaches.

The debate as to whether he should hit at the top or the bottom of the order will still persist, but an error-free start to the season defensively, along with a penchant for hitting .300 and stealing bases will ensure that Bonifacio sees plenty of playing time at second base in 2013.