07/29/12 2:10 PM ET
Solano seizing increased opportunities in Miami
By David Villavicencio / Special to MLB.com
The Colombia native opened eyes when he hit .429 in Spring Training. In late May, he earned a promotion to the big leagues, where he's batting .328 entering Sunday while playing mostly as a reserve.
Solano's success helped him earn the first shot at third base in place of Hanley Ramirez, who was traded to the Dodgers on Wednesday. Heading into Sunday, Solano had started every game at third base since the Marlins dealt the former batting champion. With Logan Morrison on the disabled list, Solano started in left field in the finale with the Padres.
"It's great to be able to get in rhythm every day," Solano said. "My thought process remains the same, though. I am still doing everything that I have been doing and working as hard as I was before this opportunity. I am enjoying the game as much as possible and trying to make the most of this opportunity they have given me."
Manager Ozzie Guillen has been impressed with Solano since he first saw him in Spring Training.
"Since he got here, he has opened doors for himself," Guillen said. "We gave him an opportunity and he took it for himself. This is a kid that has been very professional and done all we have asked of him. In Spring Training, he was very impressive. Unfortunately, we couldn't let him make the team because of baseball business. That is unfortunate, but now he is here and he has opened eyes, not only mine, but those in the front office, too."
Solano, who has 20 hits in 67 at-bats this season, credits his success to a more relaxed approach. In the past, he would worry about everything instead of trusting his abilities. But this season's combination of preparation and trust has proven to be successful.
"I have relaxed more this year," Solano said. "I haven't put any added pressure on myself and just decided to focus on doing my work to make sure I can be ready when my time comes. I always work hard before the games, whether it is conditioning or working on my defense or my hitting. Believing in that work has helped me relax when the games come. I trust myself and am thankful that things have had positive results so far."
Even though Solano's big league career has gotten off to a good start, the rookie knows how difficult it is to play in the big leagues.
"This is a tough game," Solano said. "You can't always get the result you want, but I have learned that you can't worry about things you can't control. If you start to focus on that, then you won't find success. I just worry about doing my part and letting the rest take care of itself."
Solano has taken over the super utility role that Emilio Bonifacio used to fill for the Marlins early in his big league career. Solano has already seen time at second base, shortstop, third base and left field this season.
"I am learning something new at each position," Solano said. "I am always looking to improve every day at all the spots I play. I feel comfortable at each position, but I am always looking to get better. I know I will always give everything I have at any spot they decide to play me. I am the type of person who will do whatever is asked, because I know it is for the ultimate good of the team. That is why we are all here, for the team."
That team-first attitude combined with Solano's success on the field has really stood out to Guillen. The manager feels Solano has shown enough where he will be in a much better position next Spring Training than he was this year.
"As far as I am concerned, he is a Marlin," Guillen said. "He has earned the right to not have to earn a roster spot in Spring Training. He has done everything he needed to show he belongs in the big leagues."
Eovaldi getting used to new team, city
MIAMI -- Nathan Eovaldi may have looked very comfortable in his Marlins debut Saturday, but the 22-year-old is still getting acclimated to his new surroundings.
Eovaldi, who was acquired from the Dodgers in Wednesday's trade for Hanley Ramirez, is still meeting most of his new teammates.
"I know a few of them, but I don't know everybody yet," Eovaldi said. The right-hander is staying in a Coconut Grove hotel this week, and still needs to move most of his belongings to Miami. With the Marlins headed on the road following Sunday's game, Eovaldi has had little time to learn about his new city, but he has already begun to explore some of what Miami has to offer.
"I was on the road when I got called up, so I have my travel stuff with me," Eovaldi said. "I'm staying in a hotel right now, so I don't have too much to unpack, but I went down to the Coconut Grove area and went to the mall a little on our off-day."
Eovaldi made a strong first impression on his new team, as he held the Padres to one run on five hits over 5 1/3 innings Saturday.
"Most of the time, when you call a kid like that, he is so anxious to do good that he is overaggressive and can't find the strike zone," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "This kid pitched well. Besides having a great arm, he knows how to pitch."
Veteran left-hander Mark Buehrle saw enough from Eovaldi in his first outing to believe he can be a special pitcher for the Marlins for many years.
"Pretty [darn] impressive," Buehrle said. "Obviously not knowing too much about him being on the West Coast, I haven't seen him throw too much. Just watching him throw, he was pretty much dominating out there, and I think the report on him is he's been pretty good, but he hasn't had much run support, so that's why he was 1-6. If you throw the ball like that every time, it's going to be a force to be reckoned with over the next few years."
John Buck caught Eovaldi on Saturday and was very impressed with the young pitcher's stuff.
"Fastball jumped out of his hand," Buck said. "His location was good. He was able to throw it to either side of the plate. He threw a cutter pretty good ... and talking with his old manager, this was only his second game throwing it. You guys saw it's pretty nasty. It's something that will only get better."
David Villavicencio is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.