I remember that July day in 2011 when left-hander Sammy Solis notched his first victory at the high Single-A Potomac Nationals. The southpaw was pretty pumped about that victory and the promise that inevitably lied ahead.
That promise is still intact, now that Solis is recovering from Tommy John surgery performed in March.
If everything goes well this season, Solis will be able to return to the mound and get through this season with an innings limit.
Solis went 6-2 in 2011 with a 2.72 ERA in 10 starts for Potomac in 2011, with 53 strikeouts and 11 walks in 56 1/3 innings.
Baseball America continues to recognize the promise that the Nationals saw in Solis in 2010 when they made him a second-round selection. They have Solis at No. 8 on their top 10 list of Nationals prospects.
Baseball America national writer Aaron Fitt says Solis' genuineness off the field belies his tenacious presence while getting hitters out and a consistent clip.
"That is something that jumps right out at you about Solis," Fitt said. "He is like a teddy bear, he has got that lovable personality. But he is unflappable on the mound. He has got that stoic mound demeanor and it serves him very well. He had Tommy John surgery and the Nats have a great track record as do most organizations do now."
Fitt said Baseball America believes in Solis' potential because the Nationals have several pitchers like Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann and Christian Garcia who have bounced back from Tommy John to be very good and appear to get stronger.
"I think there are still a lot of reasons to be upbeat about Solis," Fitt said. "Just like two years ago, when he was healthy, Solis is a physical left-hander who can be a innings eater. He has got a good fastball, solid breaking ball and a solid change-up. He is a nice three-pitch lefty that could be a mid-rotation starter."
Projecting a healthy Solis in 2013, you would hope to see him pick up where he left off as he builds up through short-season Single-A Auburn, Single-A Hagerstown and Potomac with three-, four- and five-inning outings. Then, I would like to see him pitch again for Senators pitching coach Paul Menhart and have a nice run at Double-A Harrisburg. That would then set Solis up to make a serious run at the 25-man roster in 2014 without an innings limit.