VIERA, Fla. — Good morning from Space Coast Stadium where the Nationals’ pitchers and catchers will have their first official workouts of the spring this morning. The position players who have reported (which is most of them) will have an optional workout as well.
The team is holding a brief meeting before the workouts begin. Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Ross Detwiler and Drew Storen are expected to throw bullpens in the first group. Zach Duke, Ryan Mattheus, Craig Stammen, Bill Bray, Christian Garcia, Nathan Karns, Cole Kimball, Pat McCoy and Erik Davis are also expected to throw.
One player who will not throw is closer Rafael Soriano, who has not been spotted yet in the Nationals’ clubhouse at the times the media has been allowed in. His locker appears to be untouched.
Team officials have been mum on his whereabouts — saying they do not believe there are any issues with anyone reporting (visa issues or otherwise) — which would seem to indicate that if Soriano is indeed absent they are aware of the reason for it.
Soriano could be excused from the physical most players undergo each spring because he just underwent a physical with the team in January to complete his two-year, $28-million contract with half of the money deferred. It is conceivable that he would not need to undergo another full physical so soon after that one.
As it stands, Soriano’s name was on the schedule with the 1B group of pitchers to throw bullpens on Friday.
UPDATE: Soriano is dealing with a visa issue, a paperwork snafu that is tying him up in the Dominican Republic. When Soriano signed with the New York Yankees, he got a five-year visa for working for the Yankees. It has been tied up in transferring it to the Nationals. The hope is that Soriano will be in town by the end of the week.
Manager Davey Johnson said he was not concerned about Soriano missing time.
“I’m not really worried about him,” he said. “He’s a veteran pitcher who knows what he needs to do to get ready. That’s the least of my worries right now.”