Royals outfielder Jorge Bonifacio has been suspended for 80 games without pay, the league announced Saturday. Bonifacio tested positive for the performance-enhancing substance Boldenone; his first such violation. General manager Dayton Moore issued a statement following the decision (via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan):
This obviously [is] a very disappointing situation for the Royals, our fans and Jorge. He is an incredible person who just made a mistake. Jorge will have our full support as he deals with the consequences of this violation.
Manager Ned Yost added that he felt “kind of sick to [his] stomach” thinking about the suspension, given Bonifacio’s role on the team and the connection he made with members of the organization.
The 24-year-old was in the mix to begin the season as the Royals’ starting right fielder, a responsibility he’ll forfeit until June at the earliest. He’s coming off of his first major league season with the club, during which he batted .255/.320/.432 with 17 home runs and a .752 OPS in 422 plate appearances. In his absence, the Royals should have an easier time assembling an outfield from some combination of Jon Jay, Alex Gordon, Jorge Soler, Paulo Orlando, Hunter Dozier and Bubba Starling.
The Braves and Marlins have some bad blood, especially concerning Ronald Acuña Jr. Around this time last year, José Ureña intentionally threw at Acuña in the first at-bat of a game, leading to a benches-clearing incident. Acuña was hit on the elbow and exited the game but was ultimately fine. Acuña’s crime? Just being good at baseball. At the time, he had homered in five consecutive games, including three games against the Marlins.
In 2019, the first-place Braves and last-place Marlins have mostly minded their own business. The Marlins, however, can certainly keep a grudge it appears. With his first pitch in the bottom of the first inning Tuesday night in Atlanta, Marlins starter Elieser Hernández hit Acuña in the hip.
Home plate umpire Alan Porter issued warnings to both dugouts. Braves manager Brian Snitker wasn’t happy about his side having received a warning for no reason, and was ejected by first base umpire Mark Wegner. Hernández would hit Adeiny Hechavarría with a pitch in the fourth inning — seemingly unintentionally — and was not ejected. Other than that, there were no more incidents and cooler heads prevailed.
Acuña finished 1-for-4 in the Braves’ 5-1 win. Freddie Freeman hit two home runs and knocked in four runs.