Nationals' Solis Learns The Ropes
WASHINGTON — Sammy Solis found out that Arizona Fall League hitters generally aren't in a giving mood.
"I was a little nervous about pitching in this league," the 22-year-old lefthander said. "I wasn't sure what to expect.
"It's not the amount of power or speed that's the difference (from college ball), it's the amount of discipline. If you make a mistake, everyone punishes it. The three homers I've given up out here might have gotten by hitters before."
In Solis' first four outings with the Scottsdale Scorpions, he struggled to throw strikes with his knuckle-curve. Once he found control of that pitch, he allowed only one run and earned a win in a five-inning start. Solis followed that up with a scoreless three-inning stint to improve to 1-0, 3.80 in 24 innings. He had allowed 22 hits and seven walks while striking out 12.
Solis, the first pick in the second round of the 2010 draft out of San Diego, signed for an above-slot $1 million before making a pair of scoreless, two-inning starts with low Class A Hagerstown at the end of the regular season. Then the Phoenix native took part in instructional league before heading to the AFL.
The travel was hardly noteworthy for Solis, whose family operates an orphanage for children with AIDS in South Africa. His parents, Bob and Sallie, had volunteered at an orphanage in Johannesburg, and that experience led them to establish Open Arms Home for Children, about 50 miles from the city of East London.
"I've been there twice, once after my eighth-grade year when it opened and once when I was in high school," Solis said. "It has grown from the first cottage to four or five cottages with 40 to 45 kids."
• Second baseman Steve Lombardozzi, 22, went on a 12-for-26 tear to bring his AFL numbers up to .297/.398/.459 in 74 at-bats for Scottsdale. "He's the kind of guy who if you're on the freeway, he's going 65 with 10 and 2 on the steering wheel," Scorpions manager Randy Knorr said. "He always puts himself in good position."
• Knorr, who guided Double-A Harrisburg to its first playoff spot since 2002, managed the Eastern Division all-stars in their 3-2 loss to the West in the AFL's Rising Stars Game. Outfielder Michael Burgess was 0-for-2. Righthanded reliever Cole Kimball was chosen for the game but did not pitch.