Solarte returns from positive Classic experience

Padres infielder goes 1-for-3 while starting in left for Venezuela

Solarte returns from positive Classic experience

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

Yangervis Solarte was proud to play for Venezuela and happy to start the last game of his country's stay in the World Baseball Classic.

But now it is time to get back to Peoria, Ariz. -- and back to work in the Padres' Spring Training camp.

"I want to get back and play with the Padres," Solarte said after Venezuela failed to win any of its three games at Petco Park and was eliminated from the Classic. "My timing is good. I'll put my mind right there. I am ready to play. I can play right now."

Solarte traveled to Arizona on Sunday morning to rejoin his teammates, as did pitchers Jhoulys Chacin and Jose Castillo.

But Solarte said his overall experience as a member of Venezuela's national team was positive.

"Wow," he said. "Venezuela selected me and put me on the national roster. It's very big for a Venezuelan. Wow."

Solarte said Venezuela needs to work harder before the next World Baseball Classic in 2021.

"We have to figure things out better before the next Classic," he said before Venezuela's 13-2 loss to Pool F champion Puerto Rico on Saturday afternoon at Petco Park. "But no matter win or lose, I was happy staying with the team."

Solarte went 1-for-3 Saturday as Venezuela's starting left fielder. It was his first start in Venezuela's seven Classic games. After entering Thursday's game as a pinch-hitter and replacement in left, Solarte got hits in his first three at-bats.

Overall, Solarte went 3-for-6 in the Classic. He appeared in five games, twice as a pinch-runner and twice as a pinch-hitter before Saturday's start. Prior to the WBC '17, Solarte had played left in only seven other games as a professional -- all in 2014 with the Padres.

"Left field, I can play anywhere," said Solarte, who figures to be playing second or third with the Padres this season.