VIERA, Fla. — Rafael Soriano made his way into the Washington Nationals’ clubhouse Saturday morning, one day after getting a visa issue in his native Dominican Republic resolved. Soriano was relieved to have the problem behind him and get to camp with his new team.
“I’m so happy to be here,” he said. “I wanted to be a little bit early and be with my new team and I went to try to get my visa and I see that thing happened so now I’ve got to wait and see what happens.”
When Soriano signed with the New York Yankees prior to the 2011 season, he acquired a five-year visa with the Yankees on it as his employer. The snafu arose in transferring that part of the visa to a Nationals designation.
Soriano said he’d been throwing long toss as well as bullpens in the Dominican Republic in order to make sure the delay did not derail his preparation for the season. He was on the beach on Friday when he received a call that his passport had been cleared and he got himself on a flight to Viera as quickly as possible.
The 33-year-old Soriano comes into camp with the designation of closer for just the second time in his career, he said, which is something of a surprise given the fact that he’s piled up 132 career saves.
“To me I tried to find the team that needs help and I think I made a good decision, with my lawyer, coming here,” he said. “Everybody’s young and we’ve got a good team.
“I know what I have to do. Everybody knows what I can do… I want to win. That’s all. That’s what I’m here for.”