Nationals rookie catcher Jhonatan Solano spent six years in the minor leagues. If he has his way, he won’t be returning. the 26-year-old has received just 20 at-bats in seven games since being called up in late May, but he has seized those opportunities.
“No one wants to go back to the minors,” he said. “It’s not in my plan for the moment because I want to be here for the rest of my career. I have to take advantage of my opportunity.”
Solano has gone 8 for 20 with a home run and three doubles, striking out only once, and has been a reliable catcher. Before Friday’s game against the Atlanta Braves, Solano sat behind starting catcher Jesus Flores, almost glued to his shoulder, as he watched game film. It’s all caught the attention of Manager Davey Johnson, who said this week that he wanted to play Solano more in order to give Flores more rest in the heat of summer.
“This is all a baseball player wants, try to continue getting opportunities,” he said. “If the boss said that, then I hope that’s what it is and I keep getting chances to keep getting ahead and keep the helping the team as much as I can.’
Solano is known affectionately as “the Onion” because he got to the tryout that landed him a contract with the Nationals by hitching a ride from his native Colombia to Venezuela in a van carrying both people and the namesake produce.
Solano said he is getting accustomed to not playing everyday but that’s not a bad thing. He will continue to focus at the plate every time he is sent out there.
“I feel that’s part of the process of being the majors leagues, proving that I can play here,” he said. “I understand that and have taken to my role and try to do everything well when I’m asked. This is an opportunity. I won’t worry because, obviously, I want to play more. But I will when I’m asked, take advantage and keep doing what I’m doing.”