Skip to content

The Solanos’ night to remember

May 30, 2012, 3:00 PM EDT

Associated Press photo
The supremely proud Solano family: Myriam, Donovan, Jhonatan and Luis.

MIAMI — Imagine the thoughts racing through Jhonatan Solano's mind as he stepped to the plate last night.

Twenty-four hours prior, he learned he was being called up by the Nationals, who were playing in Miami, where his brother Donovan happened to have been called up by the Marlins nine days earlier. Now the 26-year-old catcher was being summoned by manager Davey Johnson to pinch-hit with two outs in the top of the ninth against All-Star closer Heath Bell. With his brother watching from the other dugout. And with his parents (who flew in from Colombia earlier in the day to attend their first major-league game) watching from the stands.

Good luck dealing with all that, kid.

"Yeah, you know, it's a little pressure," Solano would say later. "There's a lot of people in the stadium, all my family here, all together. But IRead more »

  1. NatsFanGino - May 30, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    Feel good story. I feel a Lifetime movie coming on..

  2. peric - May 30, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    Mark is far better at this than predicting the sudden non-resurgence of Ryan Zimmerman. That shoulder looks like its not going away this season. It likely spells a subpar one for Zim.

  3. Gonat - May 30, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    Which lucky catcher gets the start versus Josh Johnson?Also, if Flores is ok by Friday when Michael Morse is activated, who gets the pink slip-Maldanado or Solano, or if Flores still isn't ready that would mean the Nats either put Flores on the DL retroactive or carry 3 catchers and Nady or Bernadina get the pink slip.

  4. Doc - May 30, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    Great story!Congratualtions and continued success to the Solano family. Two brothers making it to the Bigs from such circumstances.A tribute to faith in family and human perserverance!

  5. Gonat - May 30, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    peric said… Mark is far better at this than predicting the sudden non-resurgence of Ryan Zimmerman. That shoulder looks like its not going away this season. It likely spells a subpar one for Zim. May 30, 2012 11:39 AM ___________________________Why are you busting on Mark? Is he a fortune teller? Did Ryan's shoulder make him swing over the 3 costly grounders in the last 2 games but allow him to shoot the bases clearing line drive double also?When Morse comes back I guess Lombo can play some 3rd base if needed, but I just see a guy in a slump

  6. JD - May 30, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    Gonat, Peric isn't happy unless he's arguing/fighting with someone. I've concluded that it's best to ignore him.

  7. natsfan1a - May 30, 2012 at 3:59 PM

    Great story. Congrats to the bros and their proud parents.

  8. waddu eye no - May 30, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    when life gives you onions….

  9. Gonat - May 30, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    JD, maybe he needs some onions

  10. Soul Possession, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 30, 2012 at 4:17 PM

    I can't even imagine how the Solano parents don't bust the buttons off every shirt they own. What a great night for their family.

  11. JD - May 30, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    Purke scuffled some today in his debut. 5 runs in 5 innings in 7 hits and 5 walks with only 1 strikeout. I am sure he will get better as he progresses.

  12. MicheleS - May 30, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    waddu.. nearly spit my water out laughing so hard.another reason I love baseball, all the great stories…

  13. MicheleS - May 30, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    JD.. beware the wrath of being yelled at with bold and capital letters… and the name calling….

  14. mick - May 30, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    Solano story is uplifting, I hope this kid has a great career here.

  15. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 30, 2012 at 5:32 PM

    JD, thanks for the Purke update. Better than I expected. I thought he would go 2 or 3 innings max. Perfect first inning and got stuck in the 2nd with a single, flair hit and a ground balk single with a walk.Came back with a strong 3rd and 4th then fell apart in the 5th with the walk and HR.

  16. JD - May 30, 2012 at 5:32 PM

    MichelleS, I am sure I've been called worse by better.

  17. JD - May 30, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    Steve, I hoped to see more K's and less BB's but it is the 1st time out.

  18. MicheleS - May 30, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    Gonat.. Mark mentioned today (on his 12:45 radio appearance) the possibility that Morse might see time in Right, with Lombo in Left, and Harper in CF. That ought to be interesting…

  19. baseballswami - May 30, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    When Morse first came here he played right all the time. He was just fine there. Look it up!

  20. Gonat - May 30, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    TCU left-handed pitcher Matt Purke (No. 96 overall) joined Rendon in signing a major league deal, worth roughly $4 million over four years. Purke and Rendon received major league deals because they are “close to the big leagues” and “extreme talents,” Rizzo said. ___________________________________That was in August 2011.

  21. JD - May 30, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    Gonat, As with everything else there's potential and then there's reality. Sometimes they converge and other times they diverge.

  22. Gonat - May 30, 2012 at 5:49 PM

    MicheleS said… Gonat.. Mark mentioned today (on his 12:45 radio appearance) the possibility that Morse might see time in Right, with Lombo in Left, and Harper in CF. That ought to be interesting… May 30, 2012 1:38 PM _____________________________I could see that as a possibility but you really weaken your entire outfield doing that. Lombo adds offense but he can do it at 2nd base. He doesn't have corner outfield power.How's about giving Corey Brown a legitimate shot every day in the OF vs RH pitching and lets see where we are in 10 days. I think Corey will be a considerable upgrade over Ankiel and Morse, Brown and Harper could be the OF until Werth can return.Lombo can then play 2nd 5 days a week.

  23. Gonat - May 30, 2012 at 5:53 PM

    JD said… Gonat,As with everything else there's potential and then there's reality. Sometimes they converge and other times they diverge. May 30, 2012 1:48 PM _________________________A long way to go. Dylan Bundy was untouchable in Low A and in his 1st appearance in High A they hit him. Each progression the competition gets better. Purke has much more progression ahead of him.

  24. JD - May 30, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    Gonat, The difference is that Bundy is 18 or 19 and Purke is 22. When you draft college players the good ones should be pretty close to AA level right from the get go. This is not an absolute theory but it's generally correct. Storen started at low A but dominated there and at every other level very quickly thus we knew he was the real deal.

  25. Gonat - May 30, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    JD said… Gonat,The difference is that Bundy is 18 or 19 and Purke is 22. When you draft college players the good ones should be pretty close to AA level right from the get go. This is not an absolute theory but it's generally correct. Storen started at low A but dominated there and at every other level very quickly thus we knew he was the real deal. May 30, 2012 1:57 PM _______________________________Absolutely, the point I was trying make is this is the 1st step for Purke and he has to progress at every level. Moving levels isn't easy and Bundy is an example of that as the players are much better as you jump from Low A to High A and High A to AA. That's also the big test for position players like Skole.

  26. A DC Wonk - May 30, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    The difference is that Bundy is 18 or 19 and Purke is 22. When you draft college players…Isn't Purke coming back from injury? Or am I misremembering?

  27. MicheleS - May 30, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    Swami.. I remember him playing right as well, just worry about 2 rookies playing the OF and Morse just coming back.

  28. Brother Juniper - May 30, 2012 at 6:18 PM

    The warm and fuzzies for the Solano family made me recall the saga of Rick Short back in 2005. I hope Jhonatan has a much longer ML career.

  29. NatsJack in Florida - May 30, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    Purke was signed coming off injury. I saw him in the fall instructs and he was clearly building arm strength. He looked back to full strength by early ST but developed a minor setback and was held in extended ST until last week.I'd expect him to round into full strength in a couple of starts barring another setback

  30. MicheleS - May 30, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    Good link to Kilgore article on the top left. Davey is taking over Espinosa now. Let's hope he can work the same magic he did with Ian.

  31. Theophilus T. S. - May 30, 2012 at 6:33 PM

    On the previous post someone said, "The Marquis de Rendon. I like it!" I would appreciate it if we could go for a while without any reminders of Jason Marquis.

  32. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 30, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    I just read the Kilgore piece and I am smiling. I said this last April about Danny and the big looping swing and lack of contact. Kevin Long fixed Curtis Granderson but the Grandy Man was already a good hitter. I wish Davey luck. Danny has been swinging this way for 15 years. Also, how do you fix guys like Espi and Ankiel that consistenly swing at balls at their shoulders?Best place for Danny is AAA when Morse comes back so Lombo can play every day.

  33. jeffwx - May 30, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    Espi is young enough…Strange that Davey has to do the hitting coach's job and correct the team flaw of going after outside off-speed pitches and missing fastballs in.

  34. Gonat - May 30, 2012 at 6:47 PM

    Ghost Of Steve M. said… Best place for Danny is AAA when Morse comes back so Lombo can play every day. May 30, 2012 2:42 PM ___________________________That's harsh and I have to agree. Davey and Rizzo can't reconstruct a players mechanics on the fly plus a lot of Espi's problems is biting on the high cheese.Espi needs a few weeks away from the pressure to work on his issues. Other thought is just batting rightie full-time.

  35. Gonat - May 30, 2012 at 6:50 PM

    jeffwx said… flaw of going after outside off-speed pitches and missing fastballs in. May 30, 2012 2:46 PM __________________________That's the least of his problems. Davey knows the competition reads this stuff so he said that on purpose and that is minor compared to a righties curveball and the high cheese which tied Espi up for the first 40 games this year.

  36. jeffwx - May 30, 2012 at 7:01 PM

    He has show signs of hitting, but agree he's very inconsistent.

  37. mick - May 30, 2012 at 7:09 PM

    what would be so bad of having Espi hit right handed period?? If Lombo ends up hitting right handed better than Espi, taht si when you make Lombo number one and Espi a reserve. Remember espi can play both ss and 2b, keeping Desmond, Espi an Lombo fresh throughout a season would make sense.

  38. mick - May 30, 2012 at 7:10 PM

    add rendon to the mix, if ever stays healthy and no other team in MLB would have depth like that at ss and 2b

  39. mick - May 30, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    where does Purke fit in all this?

  40. NatsJack in Florida - May 30, 2012 at 7:19 PM

    Re: Purke…..right now, he doesn't. But 2014 he does.

  41. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - May 30, 2012 at 7:29 PM

    Oh, what a lovely story, Mark. But whatever happened to the tied-up pig?Thanks to this, I now have a new favorite National.

  42. A DC Wonk - May 30, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    Gonat said… jeffwx said… flaw of going after outside off-speed pitches and missing fastballs in.========= That's the least of his problems. Davey knows the competition reads this stuff so he said that on purpose If so, Davey's overthinking this one. Anyone who looks at the tapes can see what his weakness is. I'm sure that the scouting report of all 15 NL opponents already have it.

  43. baseballswami - May 30, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    Our outfield situation is kind of screwy – Sharkadina has the great speed but can't hit, Ankiel has the Cannon-Arm, but can't hit, Lombo is great at lead-off, has speed, switch hits, but doesn't have an outfield arm. Morse has been a great hitter, an ok outfielder, but a better first baseman – but we already have a first base man, Harper is still learning, Werth is broken, Brown we don't know yet. Bits and pieces of a whole player. I really don't know why anyone is worried about Morse in right, though, once he is all healed, of course – he can play there just fine. Does anybody else think Zim should be getting regular time off while he tries to get his shoulder back to full strength? He was heating up and the shoulder was getting stronger, but it looks like he is tired now. Some regular time off might make him stronger for the second half. I hate seeing guys that are just back played into the ground right away. I know we need them, but we need them strong and healthy.

  44. Soul Possession, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 30, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    what would be so bad of having Espi hit right handed period?He would have to do it against right-handed pitchers. Try looking at it this way–it's a gloss, but bear with me: Instead of seeing it as "He isn't hitting left-handeded," think of it as "He isn't hitting against right-handed pitchers." Generally speaking, same-sided matchups favor the pitcher, so if he's not hitting rightys from the left side, it's unlikely to get easier from the right. But the real reason is the same one as always–you can't just stop switch-hitting mid-season. He'd have to re-learn how to hit right-handers all over again, and that takes a while. Of course, one might point out that is what he's trying to do now.

  45. Soul Possession, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - May 30, 2012 at 7:45 PM

    "He isn't hitting left-handeded," I think I found his problem–he's got a hiccup in his left-handed-ed swing!

  46. Gonat - May 30, 2012 at 8:37 PM

    DC Wonk, Davey doesn't underthink anything. This is Danny's swing chart from this year:http://pitchfx.texasleaguers.com/charts/gen/4577872012050120120529AAAAAswinging.png

  47. Gonat - May 30, 2012 at 8:43 PM

    Here's Danny in 2 consecutive at-bats when the book was low strike middle of the plate and then get him to chase away out of the stike zone. The first time he struck out and the 2nd time he reached out of the strike zone for a ground out. Almost exact same sequence and Danny didn't learn the first time or the 2nd time:http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/cache/numlocation.php-pitchSel=502239&game=gid_2012_05_01_arimlb_wasmlb_1&batterX=14&innings=yyyyyyyyy&sp_type=1&s_type=3.gifhttp://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/cache/numlocation.php-pitchSel=502239&game=gid_2012_05_01_arimlb_wasmlb_1&batterX=29&innings=yyyyyyyyy&sp_type=1&s_type=3.gif

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
x-WASHINGTON 87 64 -- 0
ATLANTA 76 76 11.5
MIAMI 74 77 13.0
NEW YORK 73 80 15.0
PHILADELPHIA 69 82 18.0
Through Wednesday's early games
x-Clinched division title

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
THU: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

Follow us on Twitter