Skip to content

Soriano delayed by visa issue

Feb 14, 2013, 2:55 PM EST

USA Today Sports Images
Rafael Soriano has not been seen yet at Nationals camp.

Updated at 1:45 p.m.

VIERA, Fla. — As Nationals pitchers and catchers took the field for their first official workout of the spring, one significant name was missing: Rafael Soriano.
Held up in his native Dominican Republic by a visa issue, Soriano won't make it to Viera for another few days, the club said.

It's not uncommon for Latin American players' arrivals to spring training to be delayed because of work visa issues, and manager Davey Johnson said he's not concerned about any effect Soriano's tardiness may have on his team.

"I'm not really worried about him," Johnson said. "Because here's a veteran pitcher. He knows what he needs to do to get ready. So I've been used to dealing with that kind of stuff with visa problems. But they've got great weather down there, I'm sure he's not just sitting in watching TV. I'm sure he'll come into camp in good shape. That's

Read more »

  1. MicheleS - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    And new drama… Soriano hasn't shown up at Nats camp..Maybe he is on that boat that is in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico

  2. Ghost Of Steve M. - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:04 PM just read this on Twitter. This totally eluded me that Rafy wasn't there. We know he was in DC for his introduction and everything seemed fine.

  3. CN - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    I could digest this more if Rizzo or other team officials simply said Soriano is having visa issues. However, team officials have yet to comment on Soriano's whereabouts, according to Kilgore, Mark, et al, so this is worrisome, especially for the chemistry of the bullpen. Since Storen & Clip were already taken aback by the move, the fact that Storen & Clip reported, perhaps early, and Soriano is a few days late, may not sit well with the rest of the bullpen. We shall see…

  4. JD - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    CN, This happens every year with most teams. I don't know if Soriano played winter ball at all but it's very common for latin pitchers to report a little late. I would really hold off worrying about this for a while.

  5. JD - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:15 PM

    BTW, Visa issues has always been a convenient excuse which makes no sense. The players know when they have to report months in advance but sometimes they feel like another couple of days at the beach.

  6. Ghost Of Steve M. - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    JD, I agree as it is probably nothing. HenRod was stuck in Visa problems 2 straight years.It would just be nice for Rizzo to give a reason.

  7. JD - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    With HRod it makes sense. He probably went to the wrong embassy.

  8. DaveB - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:33 PM

    If you haven't already, check out the Nats Enquirer link to the RZim honeymoon pics. Pretty funny.

  9. Tony - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    No reported LaRoche sighting yet either. Check the suite.

  10. MicheleS - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:41 PM

    Per Heyman.. it's a visa issue

  11. CN - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    JD,Sure it happens all the time, it happened to the Nats for several seasons. However, it is a very different dynamic then when this happened with, say H Rodriguez. Soriano was signed to a huge contract and is taking the job that two young, but veteran & competitive Nats had their eyes on. Not saying that it WILL become an issue, but just another variable to factor in.

  12. CN - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:44 PM

    Jon Morosi also saying it's a Visa issue.

  13. natsfan1a - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:44 PM

    Yeah, I'm with JD on this.On another note, here's a Florida Today item on Davey.I would really hold off worrying about this for a while.

  14. NatsLady - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:53 PM

    Jon Morosi ‏@jonmorosiScott Boras says Rafael Soriano should be in Nats’ camp “soon” after visa issue is worked out.LOL. "Visa issues." There ya go. Or maybe he has the flu… Or a hacking cough and cold… Sometimes we forget these guys are human. I saw some really sad photos on Twitter of guys leaving their kids behind for six weeks. I know it's not the same as being deployed overseas, but if you're a kid, you miss your Dad.

  15. Ghost Of Steve M. - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:54 PM

    The simple answer is that its the Visa. I have to agree with JD, its a poor excuse.You pay this guy as the highest paid reliever in history and he can't get his paperwork together.

  16. Tcostant - Feb 14, 2013 at 4:02 PM

    Anyone else notice that the STH presale is price incorrectly. One of the season ticket benefits is add'l tickets as season ticket price, yet these tickets are priced at box office price before they tack on service charges.

  17. natscan reduxit - Feb 14, 2013 at 4:04 PM

    Mike says, "It's common for Latin American players' arrival to be delayed because of [visa] issues."… yes, that's true, but it remains a puzzle for me. After all these years that Latin American ballplayers have been part of MLB, how in the world can it be that such issues have not yet – even in 2013 – been ironed out and streamlined. These things happen every year, and it seems to me that one of Bud Light's minions is clearly asleep on the job…. be that as it may, Go Nats!!

  18. original Nats Fan - Feb 14, 2013 at 4:04 PM

    Soriano might be having issues because he changed teams. I think this has caused problems for players before

  19. SCNatsFan - Feb 14, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    As someone who went to school out of the country I can assure you that vissa issues are real. The beaurocracy in other countries can be muc worse then the US, which can be horrible on its own. Things get processed at their own rate and its possible until Soriano had an employer he might not have been able to file paperwork.

  20. Tony - Feb 14, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    Sometimes we forget that many of these guys are immigrant workers. The same laws apply to them as apply to the immigrant worker back in a restaurant kitchen. Soriano may well be in the country right now, even in Viera, with no problem because he is not working. He could have a tourist visa or something like that. But as soon as he reports to work, he's in a different category and needs different paperwork. And since his agent is Boras, you know that all of his paperwork was submitted on time. But that is no guarantee that the government will process it in a timely fashion.

  21. NatsLady - Feb 14, 2013 at 4:10 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. NatsLady - Feb 14, 2013 at 4:13 PM's Jon Heyman now reports that Soriano is being delayed because of a visa issue, which isn't an uncommon situation for foreign ballplayers this time of year. Heyman notes that Soriano has a five-year work visa, but additional documentation was required by the consulate after the reliever changed employers (i.e., signed with the Nats). Heyman reports that the hope is that the visa issue will be resolved by the end of the week.

  23. Avar - Feb 14, 2013 at 4:14 PM

    SCNatsFan is right. Plus, you can't start the process until you sign a contract because the employer – the Nats – has to sponsor you into the US. So, he only started it 30 days ago. The Dominican will issue that whenever they feel like it.Point is – it's way off base to assume this is Soriano's fault. It is much more likely that it is the Dominican government's fault.But yeah, why didn't Rizzo just say it was the visa?? Weird.

  24. NCNatsie - Feb 14, 2013 at 4:17 PM

    SC, you are so right. But in most places I've been in, the stifling. rats-nest-red-tape bureaucracy is accompanied by outrageous corruption, which it should be easy for a guy making $14M/yr to deal with. But I admit I've never been to the D.R., so maybe they're the exception — HONEST stifling, rats-nest-red-tape bureaucracy.

  25. Avar - Feb 14, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    Even if you can bribe the Dominican visa issuers, so can every other major league player from the Dominican. There are a lot of them. No sense getting in a bidding war so they probably all just wait it out.

  26. JD - Feb 14, 2013 at 4:20 PM

    Avar, Soriano is applying for a visa to work in the United States. What does this have to do with the Dominican government? He goes to the US consulate in Santo Domingo and applies for the Visa. If there is a bureaucratic problem here it's not with the Dominican Republic.

  27. NCNatsie - Feb 14, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    Darn, Avar. If I hadn't gone back to hyphenate "rats-nest-red-tape", you'd owe me the virtual Coke.

  28. Tony - Feb 14, 2013 at 4:27 PM

    The only immigration bureaucracy that Soriano is dealing with is the good old USA. But even that is impenetrable sometimes. It got a lot worse during the Bush administration after 9/11. And with the high visibility that MLB athletes have, they and their teams can't hazard doing anything until everything is in order. The start of spring training is always the choke point, because that is when players start getting paid.

  29. sm13 - Feb 14, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    If Soriano has Visa issues, can't he just get a Master Card?Sorry, I couldn't resist.

  30. Doc - Feb 14, 2013 at 4:42 PM

    Correctomundo, Tony!Speaking as a former immigrant, the visa problem is with the American Embassy, and has nothing to do with the DR.The bureaucracy of the American visa process is no different, and no more efficient, than the visa procedures of travelling in most banana republics.Interesting how we can get to and from the moon quicker than getting an American visa from the DR.

  31. Natman - Feb 14, 2013 at 4:48 PM

    sm13 – sounds more to me like he needs American Express

  32. Natman - Feb 14, 2013 at 4:48 PM

    sm13 – sounds more to me like he needs American Express

  33. sm13 - Feb 14, 2013 at 4:55 PM

    Well said, Natman!

  34. natsfan1a - Feb 14, 2013 at 5:06 PM

    Both times. 😉

  35. NatsNut - Feb 14, 2013 at 5:28 PM

    NatsLady,They don't call it the flu, it's "flu-like symptoms";)

  36. Tony - Feb 14, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    And Clippard and Storen aren't married. They have marriage-like symptoms.

  37. NatsNut - Feb 14, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    1a, I know you said you don't read reviews, but if you've already seen Trouble With The Curve, I too recommend the Posnanski review that 222 linked to a few posts ago. It makes hilarious points that we die-hard baseball fans make all the time. My favorite of his "rants" brought back good memories from way back in the Svrluga days: For the last time, You. Can't. Trade. Draft. Picks. Here is the Link in case you change your mind 😉

  38. NatsLady - Feb 14, 2013 at 5:44 PM

    NatsNut, flu, cold, symptoms–whatever it is, it's NOT FUN! Been dragging for almost two weeks now. Saw this in WaPo, Gio was tested two days after the story appeared in the New Times. I don't know how long it takes for results, but you have to hope Joe Torre knows them, knows he's clean and gave him the call for the WBC.Gio

  39. NatsNut - Feb 14, 2013 at 5:45 PM


  40. NatsLady - Feb 14, 2013 at 5:46 PM

    And, curiously, according to Twitter, Strasburg said he was not invited to the WBC. Maybe they knew he wouldn't accept, or maybe he doesn't (YET) have the official star-power of a ROY (Harper) or Cy Young candidate.

  41. TimDz - Feb 14, 2013 at 5:48 PM

    NatsNut….There's NO crying in baseball….

  42. NatsLady - Feb 14, 2013 at 5:52 PM

    NatsNut–it does look very odd. I admit, I'll give him applause the first time he's here, because he was a good and stalwart team member–and then I'll hope Brycie-boy bashes 5 HR's off him. :)

  43. Kiterp - Feb 14, 2013 at 5:53 PM

    I thought at the closer he was supposed to come in at the end

  44. Ghost Of Steve M. - Feb 14, 2013 at 6:18 PM

    NatsNut, funny review on Trouble With The Curve. The movie still had some decent parts and the camera work was good. I bought it on DVD and will watch it again.Modern stats vs. The Scout's eye testAgain, I call it Trust But Verify. Use your stats and back it up with your eyes. That will almost always work. The wild card is staying healthy and consistency.Your eyes find the diamonds in the rough where you have poor stats and those are the players that get overlooked by stat hounds. How many kids get to High School and still have poor mechanics that could be fixed by great coaching.This is why some tweaks can turn a youngster from decent to great. You know why Rizzo loves AJ Cole? You can't teach 97mph on a youngster. If the Nats can work out Cole's mechanics, you have a #2 starter of the future.

  45. Ghost Of Steve M. - Feb 14, 2013 at 6:33 PM

    Bryce Harper gave a good press conference. When asked about his goals for this year he said "Win the World Series". The reporter wanted to know his personal goals. Bryce set him straight that his only goal is winning the World Series.He is so polished. Here he is 20 years old and handles himself so well.It will be tough for him to beat his "Clown Question Bro" but if anyone can do it, leave it to Bryce!

  46. Ghost Of Steve M. - Feb 14, 2013 at 6:42 PM

    Here's a curious eye on the new phenomenom for this year which is weight-loss. Josh Hamilton, Lance Lynn, and John Lackey were all spotlighted on MLB Network as having significant weight loss.The last time I saw that much weight loss was the Spring prior to mandatory steroid testing.I'm wondering if there is any correlation between players dropping weight and the impending HGH testing.

  47. Natman - Feb 14, 2013 at 7:15 PM

    Ghost —(a) I think I read something recently about a weight loss clinic in Florida… Bio something-or-other.(b) Where did you see the interview with Bryce (please)?

  48. Ghost Of Steve M. - Feb 14, 2013 at 7:18 PM

    NatMan, a) Hilarious! b) 106.7 played some sound bites from the Bryce interviewHere's the link for the 106.7 desktop

  49. Ron In Reston - Feb 14, 2013 at 7:20 PM

    Yeah, I'd like to read that interview as well. There is one personal goal I hope he has…stay healthy.That should be the personal goal of every player, and his answer of win the World Series was right on. The kid knows how not to take the bait.

  50. Ghost Of Steve M. - Feb 14, 2013 at 7:22 PM

    Also if you go to he posted up some photos today. The much slimmed down Wilson Ramos. You can definitely see it in the mid-section!Love the Davey photo NJ!

  51. Ghost Of Steve M. - Feb 14, 2013 at 7:22 PM

    Ron, good health is a personal goal for every player!

  52. Ghost Of Steve M. - Feb 14, 2013 at 7:25 PM

    Bryce Harper was asked about RG3 today. He added: "They've got a great backup in Kirk Cousins, also. He's a lot of fun to watch."

  53. Faraz Shaikh - Feb 14, 2013 at 7:28 PM

    anyone here owns MLB.TV?

  54. Faraz Shaikh - Feb 14, 2013 at 7:29 PM

    i mean subscribes to it.

  55. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 14, 2013 at 7:30 PM

    Sprint was experiecing serious connection problems this AM. I couldn't send any twitter pics. Mark Z. was having problems as well.Both Ramos and Maldanaldo look like they've lost 25 – 30 lbs. each, easy.

  56. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 14, 2013 at 7:31 PM

    Faraz….I always get the premium subscriotion.

  57. Scooter - Feb 14, 2013 at 7:36 PM

    I do MLB.TV too, Faraz. And if memory serves, NatsLady may have mentioned catching a game on it once or twice.Did you have questions?

  58. Ron In Reston - Feb 14, 2013 at 7:38 PM

    I think I found them, NatsJack 😉

  59. Ghost Of Steve M. - Feb 14, 2013 at 7:39 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… Faraz….I always get the premium subscriotion. February 14, 2013 2:31 PM The MLB smartphone app is real good!

  60. NatsLady - Feb 14, 2013 at 7:42 PM

    Yes, I get the premium subscription, which includes the audio app (which you need for blackouts). It's about $130 and well worth it. You get the games in HD after about a two-hour delay, which is fine for me, I watch when I get home from work, and usually fall asleep with some West Coast game…

  61. Ghost Of Steve M. - Feb 14, 2013 at 7:43 PM

    Nationals PR ‏@NationalsPR Davey on Wilson Ramos: "He looked great. Grinning from ear to ear." #Nationals

  62. Ghost Of Steve M. - Feb 14, 2013 at 7:45 PM

    NatsLady, the smartphone app comes with the audio also which is great if you travel. If you don't switch away you get to hear the post-game show. If you do switch away, you lose the post-game.I think the Smartphone app is $15 to $25

  63. Ghost Of Steve M. - Feb 14, 2013 at 7:48 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… Both Ramos and Maldanaldo look like they've lost 25 – 30 lbs. each, easy.Looking at the photo you took, no doubt on Maldanado. Its very noticeable.Before your photo, I had been waiting to hear or see about Wilson Ramos and nobody was willing to say anything like its a well-kept secret.Thanks for that. Its a big relief to hear and see that he dropped his weight.Wilson be nimble, Wilson be quick, Wilson Ramos jumps over the……….ok, that's a stretch on Wilson being quick.

  64. Ghost Of Steve M. - Feb 14, 2013 at 7:53 PM

    A high-tech suggestion I took from someone else here if you don't have a WiFi enabled TV is to hook a HDMI cable from your computer to your TV and you can watch every game on your TV. It circumvents the DirecTV package and the clarity isn't as good but its a great alternative.

  65. Ghost Of Steve M. - Feb 14, 2013 at 7:55 PM

    Amanda Comak ‏@acomak Re: Harper. In a bulked-up way, linebacker kind of way. Not in a fat way RT @natsrgreat: .@acomak "Enormous" in a bad way or a good way?Harper bulked up to 230 pounds and will be 220 pounds on Opening Day.

  66. Faraz Shaikh - Feb 14, 2013 at 7:59 PM

    yes, I was wondering whether it is worth the subscription or not over one full season.I think I am gonna get it this time since it includes some spring training games also and I can hardly wait for baseball anymore.

  67. Faraz Shaikh - Feb 14, 2013 at 8:00 PM

    thanks guys.

  68. NatsLady - Feb 14, 2013 at 8:03 PM

    So, on our least-favorite-subject, Pearlman is questioning Josh Hamilton's weight loss (20lbs, link below), on the theory he dropped the weight because he was NOT on PEDs due to the additional testing.Now, to me, 20-30 pounds is not that much on a man his size. Ramos and Maldanado dropped in weight, probably due to the team "requesting" it; OTOH, Harper and Stras "bulked up"–does that mean they are using? LaRoche said he always comes to camp with extra weight because he drops 20 pounds during the season–and you can pretty much see that he does.With all respect to Pearlman, I feel that to think players lose weight so they won't be suspected of PEDs is stretching it. I mean, wasn't there a problem with ephedra (a weight-loss "supplement) in what players were using it to lose weight and increase metabolism and they were dying of it? Yes, players use questionable methods, but they can go either direction on the weight thing, so to me weight loss or gain by itself is evidence of nothing.Josh Hamilton

  69. Tony - Feb 14, 2013 at 8:13 PM

    "yes, I was wondering whether it is worth the subscription or not over one full season."Real time video of games is blacked out if you are within the MASN footprint. The only way you can get that is if you have cable or satellite TV. Real time audio of Charlie and Dave is not blacked out, though, which makes the app well worth the $15 or so IMHO.

  70. Tony - Feb 14, 2013 at 8:22 PM

    "LaRoche said he always comes to camp with extra weight because he drops 20 pounds during the season–and you can pretty much see that he does."Players who don't work out much in the offseason tend to put on weight as fat, which they then lose over the course of a season because they're getting more exercise and burning more calories than they do in the winter. Players who lose weight in the offseason often put it back on during the season because it's hard to maintain good eating habits when faced with the clubhouse spread every day. Players who bulk up over the offseason by working out often find their muscle mass dropping while their weight stays the same during the season because it's hard to maintain a workout regimen while playing games and traveling. So we'll see which categories LaRoche, Ramos, Harper et al fall into as the season goes on.

  71. Iridia Noida - Feb 27, 2013 at 10:53 AM

    Australian Work Visa – Global MigrateAustralian Work Visa is Mentioned, this Visa Allows a Business to Employ Someone from Outside Australia in Australian Work Visa, Australian Work Visa and Australia work visa.KeywordsAustralian Work Visa, Australia Work VisaContact UsHead Office (pre booked appointments only)International House,39 Great Windmill Street,Piccadilly,LondonW1D 7LXTel: +44 (0)207 993 4762Fax: +44 (0)207 691 7969Email: headoffice@global-migrate.com





As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at Click here for past audio clips.

Follow us on Twitter