Left-hander Sammy Solís has been pitching well the last few games. He hopes this run to the finish line will be enough to prove he deserves a spot on the postseason roster.
Solís has a 1.35 ERA in his last seven games. But he did not pitch in May or June, making only 11 appearances before Aug. 1. Solís was on the disabled list with left elbow inflammation from April 19 to July 1.
He appreciates the medical staff taking it slow with him before he returned to pitching, making no appearances between July 9-28. He returned for good July 29.
Recently, he got into games on Sept. 9 and Sept. 15, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t ask him to warm in other games during the homestand.
“Yeah, I think they’re being a little more cautious as far as when to get me into the game and when to get me up in the bullpen,” Solís said. “Right now, I’m four days in a row, which is pretty normal for a reliever, I guess. I’ve only been in two of those (games). When the situation calls for it, they call down and get me up, but they are being cautious, which I appreciate just because we know what happened last time when I got a little overworked and arm flared up. Hopefully we’re staying away from that now.”
How is he feeling health-wise?
“It feels good now. The elbow is a nonfactor now,” Solís confirmed. “We have the best training staff in the world, so I’m working with them constantly every day to make sure we’re on top of it and it doesn’t kind of snowballed like it did last time.”
Solís remembers his last injury and how that slowed down his process. He has been through injuries before that have affected his season.
“Last time, it felt good up until it didn’t,” Solís said. “It was like, ‘Oh, feeling great, feeling great, feeling great’ and I woke up and it was like, ‘Oh, man.’ So we’re trying to avoid that this time by just being a little bit more proactive in my treatment.”
With the playoffs beginning in three weeks, the Nationals will have to decide how many southpaw relievers besides closer Sean Doolittle they will put on the postseason roster. Solís is on the same list with Enny Romero, Oliver Pérez and Matt Grace. He realizes that every chance he gets can make an impression on that decision. Solís also thinks that he is treading water upstream a bit because he hasn’t been able to pitch every single month of the season up until today.
“Absolutely, absolutely. You can’t take anything for granted,” Solís said. “Despite me feeling good again and pitching well as of late, the numbers right now are still against me. So it’s just chipping away at that and proving that I can handle the big situations like I did last season.
“I’ve taken every outing seriously, very seriously, because I don’t think that I have a set spot on the playoff roster yet. I got to prove that. So every outing right now is very important especially against these guys (the Dodgers) who we are going to see in the postseason, hopefully in the second round, we’ll see. I’m taking it very seriously and not taking it for granted for sure.”
Solís would love to prove to the Nats he belongs on the playoff roster. Healthy against the Dodgers in last season’s postseason, he appeared in every game of the National League Division Series, posting a 1.93 ERA, allowing one earned run in 4 2/3 innings of work.