Solano making most of regular playing time

Solano making most of regular playing time

Solano making most of regular playing time
PHOENIX -- In Spring Training, Donovan Solano was a Minor League invitee who captured the attention of the Miami coaching staff.

Even though he opened the season at Triple-A New Orleans, the 24-year-old Colombian native was on the organization's short list of callups.

Considered a utility infielder when he joined the Marlins, Solano now finds himself playing every day. Most recently, he's taken over at second base, and he's had a hot series against the D-backs. From the sixth inning on Monday to the eighth inning in Game 1 of a doubleheader on Wednesday, Solano reached base successfully in nine straight plate appearances. That is one shy of the franchise mark, done three times. The most recent was Cameron Maybin in 2008.

Solano extended his hitting streak to six games with a single in the first inning of Miami's 3-2 loss in Game 1, and he beat out an infield single in the seventh inning of Game 2 to extend the hit streak to seven.

"I feel comfortable," Solano said. "I feel like I'm seeing the ball, hitting the ball [and] staying inside the ball."

Manager Ozzie Guillen feels Solano is worthy of entering next season as a frontrunner to make the team.

"He should be on the team, I don't know where," Guillen said. "I think it's too early to say, 'He's my starting second baseman, my starting third baseman.' I think he deserves a shot to be on the ballclub, not just come in here and try to make the team. That's what I think."

Like he did in Spring Training, Solano is taking advantage of an opportunity. The Marlins initially viewed Emilio Bonifacio as their regular second baseman after Omar Infante was traded to the Tigers on July 23. But on Aug. 3, Bonifacio went on the disabled list with a sprained left thumb.

Bonifacio came off the DL on Sunday, and he returned to center field, where he was on Opening Day. Bonifacio now is dealing with pain in his right knee.

At a time when the Marlins are evaluating their roster with an eye toward the future, they're looking to see who steps up. The organization is measuring if Solano is best suited to play every day or come off the bench.

Solano's playing time dramatically has increased in August, and he's 20-for-69 (.290) in the month.

"I'm making the adjustments," he said. "It's better when you play every day and you have more opportunity. It makes it easier."