WASHINGTON -- After having the best season of his career in 2011, outfielder Emilio Bonifacio has kept right on rolling.
Bonifiacio had a .340 average coming into this weekend's three-game series with the Nationals. He hit .296 in 152 games last year, career bests in both areas, and the former Washington outfielder said he's learned a few important lessons.
"I've been more patient at the plate," Bonifacio said. "I'm taking more pitches and [am doing] more hitting ahead in the count." Bonifacio said that Jack McKeon taught him an important lesson last year, something that's helped him become more of a weapon.
"He said 'I don't care how much you're hitting. I just really care about getting on base,'" Bonifacio said. "That's helped a lot."
Last year, Bonifacio drew 59 walks and finished with 40 steals. He's doing more of the same in 2012 -- with eight walks in just 13 games entering play Friday, a team-high nine steals, and a .441 on-base percentage. That was good for seventh in the National League.
Infante won't be in starting lineup this weekend
WASHINGTON -- Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said that second baseman Omar Infante's mild left groin strain will keep him out of the starting lineup throughout this weekend's series with the Nationals.
Infante didn't start on Wednesday or Thursday versus the Cubs due to the groin problem, and Guillen said the Marlins are going to be very careful with Infante this weekend. They are pointing towards getting him back when the series with the Mets begins in New York on Tuesday.
"He might be available, just in case we need him to play, [if] we need a pinch-hitter or something," Guillen said before Friday's game. "Don't want him to miss more time. We've got a Monday off; hopefully in New York [on Tuesday], he's back in the lineup."
Donnie Murphy will be in the starting lineup while Infante's out. Murphy batted eighth in the series opener on Friday, and Guillen said he's been pleased with how Murphy has played.
Murphy had a big game on Wednesday against the Cubs, going 2-for-3 with a double, homer and three RBIs.
"He's done everything we've asked him to do," Guillen said. "I never ask our backup players to go out there and have a great day. I'm not the type of manager that expects my backup guys to go out there and get five hits."
DC might be the place Stanton finds stroke
WASHINGTON -- Right fielder Giancarlo Stanton hit 34 homers in 2011, and 22 the season before, but he's still looking for his first of 2012.
Nationals Park could be the place to help him find his power stroke once more.
Stanton entered Friday's series opener with eight homers and 16 RBIs in 15 games at Nationals Park. Those are his best power numbers on the road. He's gotten three homers in several other parks, but nothing close to the six in D.C.
Overall in Washington, Stanton has posted a .410 average (25-for-61) and a .934 slugging percentage with a 1.405 OPS. Those also are his top marks away from Miami -- in a minimum of six games.
In addition, he entered Friday with a five-game hitting streak at Nationals Park.
The Marlins found lots of success against Washington in Nationals Park last year, posting a 7-2 record in D.C. In fact, the Marlins entered Friday 26-9 in Washington since the ballpark opened four years ago.
Miami loves to run. The Marlins led the Majors with 16 steals in 19 attempts in their first 13 games of the season. Bonifacio had nine steals in the first 13 games, a new club record.
The three-game road series in Washington is followed by an off-day Monday, and then another three-game series versus the Mets in New York. This is a stretch where the Marlins play 15 of 19 games on the road.
Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.