Solis will begin the season in the bullpen. He appeared in only five games, all starts, in 2014. He has made 37 starts since 2010 for the Nationals, and has battled through Tommy John surgery, shoulder fatigue, back problems and elbow discomfort over the years.
Solis, who has been working in Florida at the Nationals training facility, is ready to go again and the Nationals would like to control his outings by seeing how he does as a reliever because they believe he has the stuff to pitch in the majors.
Nationals director of player development Mark Scialabba explains the organization’s reasoning for moving Solis to a bullpen role.
“For Sammy, we just want to make sure we try to maximize his value because certainly he has had success when he’s healthy,” Scialabba said. “We are confident that when he’s on the mound and that he’s out there and his arm feels good, his body feels good, that he has ability to help us long term and he has the stuff to do it.
“We want to see if this is an opportunity for us to put him out there in a different role, but we have confidence that he’s going to be able to go out there and have success and be consistent from outing to outing. Hopefully, his body responds well and his arm does as well, and he takes to the bullpen role.”
Top pitching prospects Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez have continued their mound progressions in Florida. They each threw three innings early this week and could move north by end of April to join a minor league affiliate. Scialabba said the Nats wanted to keep the duo at the training facility to control the amount of innings they log by September.
“It’s about building volume, building a foundation for the season, for the length of the season,” Scialabba said. “We just want to do that. It’s about monitoring the development process for them. They really maximized their innings last year and they both finished where we wanted them to, but also to get them through where we want them to finish this year, we felt like this is the necessary step. They are both are very healthy and strong and throwing the ball really well.
“The reports have been very positive so far. They’ll continue to build their volume as any pitcher would to get ready for the season. Hopefully we’ll see them up at affiliate in the near term.”