MIAMI -- Donovan Solano hasn't played left field in four years, but the recently recalled utility infielder ventured into the outfield for Saturday's matchup with the Giants.
With left-hander Madison Bumgarner toeing the rubber for San Francisco and Miami hitting just .224 against southpaws this season, Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen wanted another right-handed hitter in the lineup. He put Solano in left field while moving lefty Chris Coghlan into center and giving the left-handed Bryan Petersen the day off.
Donovan last played in left field in 2008, when he was with the Palm Beach Cardinals in the St. Louis Cardinals' organization. He played one game there that season and had one putout in one chance. Donovan, who was called up last Sunday when the Marlins placed Emilio Bonifacio on the disabled list, has been working before games on fielding in left.
"It's not the same, obviously. It's not the same," Guillen said. "This kid is a baseball player. This kid, you can tell him to put catching gear and he will put the catching gear on. He's a baseball player and we're going to try that."
If the experiment goes awry, Guillen said he can always make a switch late in the game with either Petersen or left-handed Kevin Mattison.
Despite the lack of experience fielding the position, Guillen believes Solano has earned the opportunity, pointing to his impressive Spring Training. During Spring Training, Solano had 18 hits -- third behind Hanley Ramirez's 20 and Jose Reyes' 19 -- and recorded 55 combined putouts and assists in as many chances in the field.
"It was a shame that kid didn't make the club out of Spring Training," Guillen said. "He's the best player we have overall. Out of 60 players we bring to camp, he was the best one. He opened a lot of people's eyes. He put himself in a great place because he went to camp just to fill up a hole. Now he's opening our eyes and having the opportunity to have a career in the big leagues."