VIERA, FLA. | The visa problem is resolved. Rafael Soriano, the recently signed Nationals closer, is on his way to camp.
Soriano is expected to arrive tonight or tomorrow, so there still isn’t a firm timetable for when he’ll begin working out with his new teammates. But the Nationals are no doubt relieved the delay wasn’t all that long and the brief absence isn’t likely to affect Soriano or the team’s preparations.
“The word I got was they stamped his visa this morning,” said Nationals manager Davey Johnson. “I don’t know what the travel plans are, but I imagine he’ll be here sometime tomorrow.
“I’m not worried about that. I’m glad he got his visa.”
Soriano was held up by a paperwork issue in the Dominican Republic. When he signed with the New York Yankees before the 2011 season, he obtained a five-year visa. Changing the over to his new employer, the Washington Nationals, was the hangup.
Last year, Soriano served as the closer for the Yankees after Mariano Rivera went down with a knee injury. The Nats signed him to a two-year deal worth $28 million. Although the Nats have three pitchers who have served as their closer — Henry Rodriguez, Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen — they felt the chance to add someone with Soriano’s history was too good to pass up.
The 33-year-old Soriano has 132 career saves. He had 42 with New York last year and 45 with Tampa in 2010. He has also spent time with Seattle and Atlanta.
– Amanda Comak contributed to this report.