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Henry Bonilla

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Vicente Enrique Bonilla

BR Minors page

[edit] Biographical Information

Henry Bonilla spent six seasons at AAA, almost becoming the first major leaguer born in El Salvador.

Though born in El Salvador, Bonilla grew up in Reno, NV. After going 9-3 with a 5.28 ERA and 106 K in 119 innings for Tulane in 2000, he was picked by the Minnesota Twins in the 8th round of the 2000 amateur draft.

Bonilla made his pro debut with the '00 Quad City River Bandits, going just 2-8 with a 4.50 ERA. With the 2001 River Bandits, the right-hander improved to 5-6, 3.22 with 25 saves. He led all Twins farmhands in saves as well as pacing the Midwest League. He was named the MWL All-Star right-handed reliever; the All-Star left-handed reliever that year was Ferenc Jongejan.

Henry was 3-1 with a save and a 5.04 ERA for the 2002 Fort Myers Miracle. In '03, Bonilla pitched for Fort Myers (1-2, 3 Sv, 4.91) and the New Britain Rock Cats (9-7, 3.36). He was 7th in the Eastern League in ERA. For his age 25 season, the right-hander played for New Britain (11-10, 4.54) and the Rochester Red Wings (1-2, 3.24). He tied for the most losses of any Twins minor leaguer while pacing the EL with 180 hits allowed.

Bonilla spent all of 2005 with Rochester, where he was 6-7 with two saves and a 5.11 ERA. In 2006, Henry went 3-7 with a save and a 4.26 ERA in 35 games for the Red Wings.

Moving to the Los Angeles Angels chain, Bonilla was 12-8 with a 5.78 ERA for the Salt Lake Bees, giving up 203 hits in 165 innings in 2007. He tied Matt Kinney, Adam Pettyjohn and Chris Begg for second in the Pacific Coast League in wins, one behind R.A. Dickey. Bonilla tied Jack Cassel for third in the PCL in hits allowed, two behind leader Kasey Olenberger. He led with 106 earned runs allowed and was 3rd with 114 runs allowed.

The San Salvador native pitched for the 2008 Bees as well, going 5-2 with 3 saves and a 4.67 ERA in 51 games. A free agent, he signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers for 2009. Assigned to the Albuquerque Isotopes, he posted a record of 3-11, 6.03 with 3 saves, tying for 6th in the PCL in defeats. He was now 61-71 in his 10-year minor league career.

For 2010, he signed with T&A San Marino of the Italian Baseball League. He had a fine debut on Opening Day, tossing 6 2/3 shutout innings in a 1-0 win over Parma. For the regular season, he was 8-3 with a 2.28 ERA and .165 opponent average. He tied Tiago Da Silva and Jim Brower for 4th in the IBL in wins, was 7th in ERA (between Da Silva and Enorbel Marquez) and led in lowest average allowed. In the 2010 European Cup, he lost both starts, giving up 3 runs (2 earned) in 7 2/3 innings in a defeat by DOOR Neptunus, then lost a 3-2 duel to Fortitudo Bologna and Jesus Matos in which he battled control problems with six walks in six innings.

Bonilla remained with San Marino for his last season as a player. He was 5-0 with a 2.50 ERA and .175/.229/.220 opponent batting line in the 2011 regular season. He ranked 10th in Italy in ERA, third in opponent average (after Darwin Cubillan and Marco Grifantini) and third in opponent slugging (behind Cubillan and Grifantini). In the 2011 European Cup, he took San Marino's only loss in round one, giving up 9 hits and 6 runs in 6 innings in a loss to Diegomar Markwell and Neptunus. In the Cup's Final Four, though, he did far better, facing Dutch legend Rob Cordemans and the L&D Amsterdam Pirates. He tossed eight shutout innings (5 hits, one walk, 6 whiffs) to match Cordemans zero for zero before Cubillan relieved; San Marino won in extra innings on the way to the Cup title. In the 2011 Italian Series, Bonilla lost game one to Nettuno then won game four despite five runs in five innings. He still got the call for game 7. After allowing a first inning run on hits by Ennio Retrosi and Kelly Ramos, he settled down and allowed nothing more in the next six before Cubillan wrapped up the win to give San Marino its second Italian title.

Bonilla became a coach for the GCL Twins in 2012 and Elizabethton Twins in 2013-2014.

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