CHICAGO (AP) — The contending Atlanta Braves bolstered their bench and bullpen on Thursday, acquiring utilityman Emilio Bonifacio and left-hander James Russell in a trade with the Chicago Cubs.
The Braves also got cash back from the Cubs in exchange for catching prospect Victor Caratini. Bonifacio and Russell did not play in the Cubs' 3-1 win over Colorado on Thursday afternoon.
"These are two pieces that we really like," Atlanta GM Frank Wren said on a conference call. "In Bonifacio, we got a really versatile bench player who can do a lot of things well. In Russell's case, it's another veteran bullpen arm."
Russell was in the home bullpen at Wrigley Field when the trade was made. He hugged several of his teammates and coaches — and slapped hands with a few fans — as he exited while the game was going on.
"It's kind of hard to wrap your head around it," Russell said. "It's obviously a shock. I knew things were gonna happen. There's really nothing you can do to prepare yourself for this. It's still kind of weird. I don't know how to feel. There's a lot of excitement, a lot of mixed emotions."
The 29-year-old Bonifacio hit .279 with 14 steals in 69 games for the Cubs this season. He previously played for Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez when they were both with the Marlins.
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