Solis will work on breaking pitches in first AFL start

Scottsdale Scorpions left-hander and former University of San Diego standout Sammy Solis makes his 2011 Arizona Fall League debut today against Salt River Rafters.

The Scorpions (0-1) fell to Surprise 10-1 in the season opener Wednesday. Nationals prospect Zach Walters went 1-for-3, but Bryce Harper (0-for-3, one strikeout) and Derek Norris (0-for-3) did not register a hit in the first game. Reliever Pat Lehman faced one batter and recorded an out.

Solis is in his second season in the AFL, and is coming off a first minor league season where he spent 10 games with the Single-A Potomac Nationals, going 6-2 with a 2.72 ERA, 53 strikeouts and only 11 walks.

But Solis only pitched 96 2/3 innings this season, so Arizona will provide him with extra work that he needs after minor injuries slowed down his spring training.

Potomac Nationals and Scottsdale Scorpions pitching coach Paul Menhart said the parent Washington Nationals want to see Solis pitch more because “his stuff is off-the-charts good. Solis needs innings. He needs to corral his command because hitters won’t chase out of the strike zone.”

“We want to see if he can command his off speed pitches, because we are not worried about his fast ball. He will work on getting more strikes off his breaking ball,” Menhart said.

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