Yangervis Solarte enjoyed a very good season for the Padres in 2016 despite dealing with unimaginable tragedy off the field. Yuliette Solarte, Yangervis’ wife, was diagnosed with liver cancer in late 2015 and passed away last September at age 31. As the infielder tells Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Solarte was prepared to skip last year’s Spring Training to spend time with his wife and their three daughters, but Yuliette urged him to focus on baseball in order to continue providing for their family’s future. Yuliette saw her husband secure his first life-changing payday last spring in the form of a $3.15MM brand contract with Fantex, and Solarte gained even more financial security by signing a two-year extension with the Padres this past January. Sanders’ touching piece is well worth a full read, chronicling the couple’s life together, Solarte’s journey to the big leagues and Yuliette’s battle after her heartbreaking diagnosis.
Here’s more from around the NL West…
- Santiago Casilla is happy to be back in the Athletics organization after not being offered a contract by the Giants this last winter, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. A reunion between Casilla and the Giants never seemed likely given how Casilla became a virtual afterthought for the team after he was removed from the closer’s job in September, and the two sides didn’t do much in the way of offseason negotiating.
- Corey Seager has missed the Dodgers’ last two games and will miss Monday’s game as well due to a minor back injury suffered while turning a double play on Friday. Both Seager and manager Dave Roberts told reporters (including Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times) that the injury isn’t considered serious, and the team isn’t even sending Seager in for tests. Seager has seen little action on the field during Spring Training as he was previously sidelined with a shin injury, though it sounds like the Dodgers are simply playing it safe with their young star.
- Lefty Yuhei Nakaushiro was one of the first cuts from the Diamondbacks’ spring camp but manager Torey Lovullo told reporters (including MLB.com’s Chris Gabel) that the Japanese southpaw isn’t far off from his big league debut. “Instead of putting pressure on himself [in big league camp] and every third day getting a look, we felt like he could go down to player development. The last thing we said to him is that he’s very close,” Lovullo said. “We will see him at some point during the year. We know that. We feel very comfortable with that.” The 27-year-old signed a minor league deal with Arizona last winter and posted very strong numbers in his first taste of North American baseball; Nakaushiro rose from rookie ball to Triple-A, posting a combined 1.23 ERA, 12.3 K/9 and 3.08 K/BB rate over 29 1/3 combined innings.