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Rafael Soriano delayed by visa issue

By Dayn Perry | Baseball Writer
A visa issue is to blame for Rafael Soriano's spring absence. (Getty Images)

Rafael Soriano, the Nationals' newly signed ace reliever, isn't in camp yet despite the fact that the team's reporting date for pitchers and catchers was Tuesday.

As Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post writes, the team was initially playing coy about the cause of Soriano's absence.

Team officials have given no explanation of Soriano's absence. The team has not even acknowledged whether or not Soriano ever reported. General Manager Mike Rizzo did not return an e-mail inquiry Wednesday about Soriano's whereabouts.

However, CBSSports.com'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.

This offseason, Soriano signed a two-year, $28-million deal with the Nats that includes an option for 2015. Last season, Soriano, in place of fallen Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, posted a 2.26 ERA and 1.17 WHIP across 67 2/3 innings. In Washington, he's expected to be part of a high-leverage trio that also includes Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook. Also, individually interact with us on Twitter: @MattSnyder27, @daynperry and @mikeaxisa.

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