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Braves acquire Emilio Bonifacio, James Russell from Cubs

By David O’Brien The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (MCT) • Dec 17, 2015 at 6:55 PM

LOS ANGELES — The Braves filled both of their trade-deadline priorities with one deal Thursday, acquiring left-handed reliever James Russell and versatile veteran Emilio Bonifacio in exchange for minor league catcher/third baseman Victor Caratini.

In 44 appearances, Russell, 28, has a 3.51 ERA with 26 strikeouts and 16 walks in 33 1/3 innings. He actually has been tougher against right-handed hitters than against lefty hitters this season. The Braves will have him under contractual control through the 2015 season before he’s eligible for free agency.

Bonifacio, 29, has hit .279 with a .318 on-base percentage, 19 extra-base hits (two homers) and 14 stolen bases in 20 attempts in 69 games (298 plate appearances). He has played center field and every infield position except first base.

Eligible for free agency after this season, Bonifacio is a .264 career hitter with a .321 OBP, 12 homers and 152 stolen bases in eight major league seasons with six teams, and has experience at all three outfield positions as well as three infield positions. The Braves have been high on him for a few years, and he had a career-best season in 2011 for the Marlins, batting .296 with a .360 OBP and 40 stolen bases.

Bonifacio played for the Marlins in 2009 and 2010 under current Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, who used him at third base, shortstop and the outfield.

Caratini, 20, was a second-round draft pick by the Braves in 2013 out of Miami-Dade Community College. The Puerto Rico native has been impressive, hitting .283 with a .377 OBP and an 52 extra-extra-base hits (six homers) and 67 RBIs in 145 games (611 plate appearances) over parts of two seasons in rookie ball and Single-A.

At low-A Rome this season he was batting .279 with a .352 OBP and 27 extra-base hits (four triples, five homers) in 87 games.

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