Versatile Yangervis Solarte shows Giants he can add to outfield depth


Versatile Yangervis Solarte shows Giants he can add to outfield depth

When the Giants signed veteran Yangervis Solarte to a minor league deal this offseason, it was another sign of versatility that president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi covets on his roster. 

The thought, though, was Solarte could be slotted in all around the infield as a powerful backup and platoon player. On Monday, he reminded the Giants he can do even more than that. 

Solarte played six innings of left field in the Giants' 8-2 spring training loss to the Dodgers. He didn't have a chance to record any outs, but he did chase down two doubles and a triple. 

"He looked all right," manager Bruce Bochy said to reporters, via "In early work, he looked comfortable. He's all for it, and that's the big part of it."

The move to the outfield was his first work of action since 2014. In that season, Solarte played seven games in left field for the Padres and had one error. The ability to add depth to the outfield will help both himself and the team. 

Around the infield, the Giants are bringing back the same starters as last season -- Brandon Belt at first base, Joe Panik at second, Evan Longoria at third, and Brandon Crawford at shortstop. But the outfield remains a mystery. 

Steven Duggar is set to man center field, and could be the Giants' leadoff hitter. After that, the corners are up for grabs with young players trying to prove themselves and veteran Gerardo Parra. Solarte could certainly find plenty of playing time. 

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Last season, the 31-year-old switch-hitter hit 17 home runs, which would have led the Giants. He also played all four infield positions, and Bochy has taken account for the importance of his versatility. 

"Those guys are so important," Bochy said. "Guys that give you versatility. If they're going well, then you find different places to keep them out there and spots to play, obviously, to rest guys. That was a big signing for us."

Giants' Bruce Bochy, Brandon Belt frustrated with calls behind the plate

Giants' Bruce Bochy, Brandon Belt frustrated with calls behind the plate

WASHINGTON D.C. -- Patrick Corbin worked his way into the Cy Young Award race last season in part because he got to face the Giants so often. Corbin started against a bad Giants lineup six times in his final season with the Diamondbacks, posting a 2.27 ERA.

Corbin is one of the last guys who needs a bit of help when facing the Giants. They felt he got plenty of it, anyway. 

Bruce Bochy and Brandon Belt were ejected after separate plate appearances in the middle innings, both of which ended with Belt striking out looking on pitches off the outer edge. Belt was calm and diplomatic after a 4-2 loss, saying all he wanted was a fair chance, and for home plate umpire Ryan Additon to make an adjustment. Additon is relatively new to the big leagues. 

"As big leaguers, we make adjustments. He's got to do the same," Belt said. "We put too much into this game to go out there and have at-bats taken away. Everybody out here is human, everybody makes mistakes, but when you do it time and time again, something has to be done."

Corbin can live on that outer edge against lefties like Belt. He stands on the first base side of the rubber and can provide a hellacious angle when he runs the ball across the plate like that. Belt has nine hits in 39 at-bats against Corbin and was quick to compliment him, but said the issue was that the called strikes were at no point actual strikes. The first one was particularly egregious.

Bochy came out right away and was tossed right away, apparently having used the magic word quickly. 

"That was too big. Belt had no chance," he said of the strike zone. "Come on, that's just too big."

Bochy said he had seen enough. Two innings later, Belt felt the same, spiking his helmet and saying a few words that got him sent back to the clubhouse, too. 

At the time of the second ejection, the Giants trailed 4-0 and had one hit. But Belt said he was frustrated because a game can change with a big hit here or there. The Giants did end up scoring a pair late and putting the tying run on first in the ninth inning. 

"We didn't lose in particular because of (the calls) but you hate to see stuff taken away," Belt said. "You never know what's going to happen."

Watch Giants' Brandon Belt get ejected after arguing a called strike

Watch Giants' Brandon Belt get ejected after arguing a called strike

Brandon Belt isn't one to get hot-headed, but it appeared that wasn't the case on Thursday when the Giants faced the Nationals.

In the top of the seventh inning on a 1-2 count, Patrick Corbin threw an outside fastball to Belt. And, well ...

It appeared Belt wasn't too happy on the call -- the throwing of his helmet and bat certainly back that up. The first baseman was later ejected and joined manager Bruce Bochy in the clubhouse who was also ejected earlier when he argued a called strike ... on Belt in the fifth.

And in Belt's defense, he had every right to get angry: