With Washington Nationals' pitchers and catchers scheduled to have their first workout this morning, the beat writers in Viera, Florida covering the team noticed that one pitcher had yet to arrive. 33-year-old San Jose, San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic-born right-hander Rafael Soriano, who signed a 2-year/$28M dollar deal this winter, was not in Space Coast Stadium two days after pitchers and catchers reported on Tuesday. Not long after his absence was noted, the following reports came out via Twitter explaining his absence:
Rafael Soriano has not reported to Nationals camp due to a visa issue, according to agent Scott Boras. First workout is today.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) February 14, 2013
Scott Boras says Rafael Soriano should be in Nats’ camp "soon" after visa issue is worked out.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) February 14, 2013
raf soriano has 5-year work visa. when employer was changed from yanks to nats, consulate sought info. club aware. #sori— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) February 14, 2013
The 11-year-veteran saved 42 games for the New York Yankees last year, posting a 2.26 ERA, 3.32 FIP, 24 walks (3.19 BB/9) and 69 Ks (9.18 K/9) in 69 games and 67.2 IP over which he was worth +1.2 fWAR. Soriano opted out of the third year of a 3-year/$35M dollar deal with NY and hit the free agent market looking for a team in need of a closer. Nats' GM Mike Rizzo has described adding the veteran reliever to the Nationals' pen as a strengthening a strength, giving manager Davey Johnson three legitimate closer options in Soriano, Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard. Soriano was brought in to work the ninth, however, as the Nationals' GM explained when Washington introduced the pitcher to the nation's capital earlier this winter.
"Whenever you're talking about signing a free agent with the resume of Rafael," Rizzo told reporters, "I think that you're speaking to the player, you're paying the player and the expectations for the player is that [he's] going to finish out games."
Soriano will join his new team as soon as he gets the visa issues sorted out, which CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman just tweeted could be any day now: