By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Danny Solano enjoys teaching young players the right way to play baseball.
A former player in the Texas and Toronto organizations, the 37-year-old native of San Cristobal, Dominican Republic is in Bluefield as the season starts, to work with the Baby Jays.
“I am a roving instructor working with the infielders,” Solano said. “I like to see those guys play the game and see them improving. We’ve spent the last three months in Florida and the work we put in and everything, I am really happy that we are here and having baseball games here in West Virginia.”
The last two seasons Solano has been coaching for the Las Vegas 51s and tutoring Adeiny Hechavarria, the Cuban phenom signed by Toronto for $10 million in 2010. This past off-season, however, the Blue Jays traded Hechavarria to the Miami Marlins for veteran shortstop Jose Reyes. Solano talked about working with the young Hechavarria.
“Watching that guy play every day was kind of exciting because it’s something that’s real, you see it every night,” Solano said. “A guy like that, I never see guys with that kind of talent.”
Solano knows a little bit about fielding at the shortstop position. In 833 career minor league games he played 529 at shortstop. He was at third for 198 contests and played 99 times at second. In his career (1998-2006) he played at least one game in every position on the diamond with the exception of catcher. His career fielding percentage was an outstanding .967.
He shared his coaching philosophy.
“I am really a big believer in time. Today’s fielders, if you put in time, you get more familiar with seeing the ball, following the ball and everything,” Solano pointed out. “I’m a big believer in time.”
He will be in Bluefield with the Blue Jays for the next seven to 10 days before heading back to Florida. He spoke about the differences between the Appalachian and Gulf Coast leagues.
“The heat is different. All those guys down in Florida, they get up in the morning every day. Here they get to sleep in, so it’s a different scenario,” Solano said. “Over there (Florida) you do the same every day. You get up at 6:00 in the morning, do your early work and you play the game at noon. Here you’ve got a facility where you play at night time, the lights and everything, it’s big. And also the heat, it’s so much cooler here.”
Signed as a free agent by the Rangers in 1998, Solano went to the Blue Jays organization in 2002, retiring after the 2006 season at which time he began coaching with what he described as a great system.
“I’ve never been in any other organization in my career coaching,” Solano said. “I don’t know the philosophy in other organizations, so I think the Toronto Blue Jays way is the best way.
“I think it’s a really good organization and we are always looking forward.”
Solano will continue to keep a watchful eye on the Bluefield infielders through the remainder of the season-opening homestand and possibly longer before heading back to his base in the Sunshine State and then to other teams in the Toronto farm system.
— Contact Bob Redd at