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Braves get reliever, utilityman from Cubs

Bonifacio, Russell join club in exchange for minor-league catcher

POSTED: July 31, 2014 6:54 p.m.

The contending Atlanta Braves have acquired infielder-outfielder Emilio Bonifacio and left-handed reliever James Russell from the Chicago Cubs for catching prospect Victor Caratini.

The Braves also got cash from the Cubs in Thursday’s trade.

Neither Bonifacio nor Russell played in the Cubs’ 3-1 win over Colorado earlier in the day.

Russell was in the Cubs bullpen 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 18 RBIs and 14 steals in 69 games for the Cubs this season. The 28-year-old Russell went 0-2 with one save and a 3.51 ERA in 44 games.

Atlanta is in the chase for the NL East and the Cubs are last in the NL Central.

The 20-year-old Caratini was hitting .279 with five home runs and 42 RBIs at Class A Rome.

“He’s a guy we liked in the draft a lot,” Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer. “We’ve said it all along, catching is a weakness in our system and we don’t have enough of it.”


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