VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals left-hander Sammy Solis was able to get out of a monster jam during an 8-4 victory over the Tigers on Saturday afternoon.
In the eighth inning with the Nationals leading, 6-4, Solis replaced right-hander Taylor Hill and had a tough time getting the first out. Mike Gerber led off with a walk, followed by a single by Steven Moya. Casey McGehee then walked to load the bases. Nationals manager Dusty Baker never thought about taking Solis out. Why? It's the spring. Baker wanted to let Solis work his way out of the jam. If he escaped, it may help him during the season.
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Solis did get out of the jam. He struck out Jason Krizan and Dominic Ficociello and got Austin Green to ground out.
"Solis is still learning how to pitch and he has the stuff," Baker said. "You try to help mold a pitcher to mature."
Baker was also impressed how catcher Spencer Kieboom, the Nats' No. 21 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, handled the bases-loaded situation. Baker said Kieboom took charge of the game. After the Nationals got out of the inning, Baker was seen talking to Kieboom and then patting him on the head for a job well done. With a moment like that, Kieboom wanted to get back out onto the field right away.
"I know it's Spring Training," Kieboom said. "It gets me excited when you see the bases loaded and you get out of it with no runs. It's fun when you make that happen. That's what makes the game fun."
In other news, closer Jonathan Papelbon went home because of a family emergency. He is expected to return to the team Sunday. Baker didn't reveal why Papelbon left.
"It was one of those none-of-your-business [situations]," Baker said.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.