07/27/2011 3:46 PM ET
Bonifacio: Speed is greatest asset
Marlins quick outfielder has hit in 24 straight games
I don't think that it is any great stretch to admit that my legs are a big part of my game. It's important for me to get on base any way I can. I need to use my speed to help my team win. Speed has always been an important part of my game. I don't know if I would be where I am today without my speed. I use my speed on the basepaths and in the field.
I think that I've always been thought of as a fast runner. It comes somewhat naturally. It was easier when I was younger because I didn't think much about it. Now that I'm older and playing here, I have to work on my speed to keep it up.
After the season is over, I go home to the Dominican Republic. The biggest thing for me is to rest my legs for a little while. Once that is done, I get with my trainer and start working out again. We do a little bit of everything. We run, hit the weights and do a lot of stretching.
I don't do too much weight lifting or running outside of the game during the season. The day-to-day grind of games and practices keeps me in great shape. That's why I work on my legs, and that is why I work on my speed so hard in the offseason.
Being successful at running the bases involves a good combination of being aggressive and smart. It just isn't pure speed. You have to be able to put pressure on the other team, but not so much that you leave yourself hanging out to dry. It's a very difficult art to learn.
A lot of base stealing involves watching the pitcher. I watch a lot of video before we face a team and observe a pitcher's mannerisms. I also observe closely how long he holds the ball, how he delivers the ball and things like that. Once the game gets going, I watch to see what kinds of pitches he's throwing. It all goes into stealing a base.
When you have speed on your side, it's very important to run out every ground ball as hard as you can. It puts pressure on the infielders to, hopefully, hurry their throw and possibly make a mistake. Every step counts, so you have to hustle down that baseline.
Looking back, staying healthy throughout the Minor Leagues was a big plus for me. My legs and my speed helped me get on base and steal bases whenever I could. Being able to stay healthy allowed me to maximize my speed, and I have benefited from it ever since.
Florida center fielder Emilio Bonifacio is putting his quick feet to work as he is in the midst of a 24-game hitting streak, the longest active streak in the Major Leagues. Bonifacio also is moving up the Marlins' all-time ladder for hits in consecutive games with the next benchmark being Kevin Millar's 25-game hit streak in 2002. Luis Castillo holds the Marlins' record at 35 games (2002).