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Posted: Thursday May 24, 2012 6:26PM ; Updated: Thursday May 24, 2012 6:26PM

Marlins' Bonifacio out 4-6 weeks with thumb injury

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MIAMI (AP) -- Major league stolen base leader Emilio Bonifacio was safe on his first 20 attempts this season. Now he'll be out for a while.

The Miami Marlins center fielder will have surgery on his injured left thumb Friday and is expected to be sidelined four to six weeks. Bonifacio already was on the disabled list after he jammed his hand on a dive into first base last Friday at Cleveland.

Joining Bonifacio on the DL Thursday was reserve outfielder Austin Kearns, sidelined since Tuesday with a sore right hamstring. Outfielder Kevin Mattison was recalled from Triple-A New Orleans.

Bonifacio's injury was initially diagnosed as a sprain. Further examination determined he needed surgery to repair a ligament in his thumb.

Manager Ozzie Guillen's team had been relatively injury-free until recently.

"It's a long season," Guillen said. "Nobody goes through with the same 25 guys all season. The team that covers those holes is the team that is going to have a better chance to win."

Bonifacio was batting .268 with three triples, and he was 20 for 21 in steal attempts. Kearns was batting .375 with three homers in 48 at-bats.

Their absence likely means more playing time for 2009 NL Rookie of the Year Chris Coghlan and Bryan Petersen, both batting under .200 and battling to stay on the roster.

"They have the opportunity now," Guillen said. "They can show us how good they are. Whenever those (injured) guys come back, whoever plays the worst is going to go down."

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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