Solano's all-around game earns playing time

July 20th, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO -- When the Giants called up from Triple-A Sacramento in May, they envisioned using the 31-year-old veteran primarily as a backup middle infielder who could help spell Brandon Crawford and Joe Panik against tough left-handed pitching.

Solano has delivered on that front, batting .360 (18-for-50) against lefties this season while providing sure-handed defense up the middle. His role is likely to expand now that he’s showing he can hit righties, too.

Solano ended Thursday night’s 16-inning marathon against the Mets by producing a walk-off single against right-hander Chris Mazza to lift the Giants to a dramatic 3-2 win at Oracle Park. He’s collected nine hits over his last 14 at-bats against righties, boosting his batting average against them to .327 (17-for-52) this season.

Overall, Solano is 11-for-19 (.579) with four extra-base hits and five RBIs in his last six games, a hot stretch that is expected to earn him more playing time in the coming days. He did not start Friday against Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom, but manager Bruce Bochy said he’ll play the final two games of the series this weekend.

“I’m using him more,” Bochy said Friday. “I’d like to keep Solano going because he is playing so well. I’m going to keep him in the mix, so he’ll play the next two.”

With Evan Longoria on the 10-day injured list with plantar fasciitis in his left foot, Solano has begun taking ground balls at third base before games, but Bochy said he’s unsure if the Giants will end up deploying him there. Solano has limited third-base experience in the Majors and has appeared there just once this season.

Blach recalled, Jerez optioned

After earning his first career win in Thursday’s extra-inning thriller, Williams Jerez was optioned back to Triple-A Sacramento Friday. In a corresponding move, the Giants recalled , filling the club’s need for a fresh arm in the bullpen.

Sam Dyson and Mark Melancon were both expected to be available to pitch Friday after sitting out Thursday’s game. Bochy said he would try to stay away from Reyes Moronta, who pitched in each of the last two games.