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Jhonatan Solano starts against brother Donovan in the majors for first time

Jhonatan Solano. (Matt Slocum/AP) Jhonatan Solano. (Matt Slocum/AP)

The moment Marlins second baseman Donovan Solano saw his name in the Miami lineup on Sunday morning and noticed that his older brother, Jhonatan, was starting behind the plate for the Nationals he immediately called his wife. She had joined the Marlins on their road trip but hadn’t planned on coming to the game on Sunday. Now, she had another reason to sit in the stands at Nationals Park.

The two brothers have played against each other before in the major leagues, but never until Sunday had both been in their team’s starting lineups in the same game.

“I was happy,” said Jhonatan, 28. “That’s what I’ve always wanted. It was the first time. Enjoying it and enjoying the chance to compete against each other.”

Both brothers grew up in Colombia playing baseball together. Jhonatan was signed by the Nationals in 2005 after he rode a bus to Venezuela, and sat next to the onions, for a tryout, which earned him the nickname “The Onion.” Donovan, 25, was signed out of Colombia by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2005, but after seven seasons with in the system he signed with the Marlins as a minor league free agent in 2011. Both debuted in the majors May 2012 within eight days of each other.

Their mother, Myriam Preciado, said last season that her dream was to see the two share a hug at home plate before the first at-bat. The two shared a quick, half-hug when Donovan stepped into the batter’s box in the first inning on Sunday. “I said ‘Hey, enjoy the game. May the best man win,’” Donovan said afterwards.

As youngsters, both daydreamed about sharing the same field together as teammates in the major leagues. That dream came true, in part, on Sunday with both as starters.

“Always wanted to play on the same team,” Jhonatan said. “It didn’t work out that way but thank God things are going the way they are and we’re happy.”

James Wagner joined the Post in August 2010, wrote about high school sports across the region for two years and has covered the Nationals since the middle of the 2012 season.
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