February 23, 2012; Melbourne, FL, USA; Washington Nationals catcher Jhonatan Solano (23) works out along with the other catchers during camp at Space Coast Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE
They call him Onion. Or at least Davey Johnson does. Davey is the only one I've heard say it, but it's listed as his nickname on Baseball-Reference.com too. The Washington Nationals announced after this afternoon's loss that they'd optioned 25-year-old outfielder Tyler Moore to Triple-A to make room (according to separate reports and manager Davey Johnson) for 26-year-old catcher Jhonatan Solano (aka Onion). Moore returns to everyday play after 12 games and 19 plate appearances with the Nationals in which he had three hits and seven K's. As Davey Johnson explained it, the move will let the outfielder who hit 31 home runs in each of the last two seasons and had seven in 88 appearances before he was called up, return to regular action.
"I really felt bad from the get-go," Johnson told reporters after the game, "Having [Moore] in a situation where he's playing out of position and he's a regular player, he's not the kind of guy that can sit and then come in and play, but I thought he handled himself well. [In] a new position he played well out there and he swung the bat okay, but that's not the role you want for a young player. A young talented prospect, sitting around and playing against a left-hander occasionally, so, he's better off going and playing. We think highly of him and he's got a great future here."
"Because of the situation with our catching, with [Jesus Flores] tentative on whether he can go or not," the Nationals brought Solano up the Nationals' manager explained. Solano, a veteran of seven seasons in the Nats' system, just came off the DL recently. He'll be making his MLB debut if/when he first sees action. He'll also be the fifth catcher the Nationals have turned to this season with Wilson Ramos (torn ACL), Sandy Leon (high ankle sprain) and now Jesus Flores (hamstring) suffering injuries. The move was precautionary, the Nats' 69-year-old manager explained, since they don't want to rush Flores back but have no real backup catcher available.
"[Flores] was warming up the pitcher between innings," on Monday when the Nats and Marlins played Davey Johnson explained, "But that's not like running to first base and I would hate for him to pull a hamstring or something by me rushing him back in the lineup, so just had to make that move, didn't see any other way to safeguard. Hopefully I can probably give [Flores] more than just the one day to make sure he's over that injury, because if you've pulled it a little bit and then you injure it, you're out a long time."
Jhonatan Solano had a .275/.325/.388 line with 14 doubles and five home runs at Triple-A Syracuse in 2010. Through 13 games and 57 plate appearances this year, Solano has a .250/.298/.288 line with two doubles. Solano will work with Carlos Maldonado until Flores is 100%.