An issue with his visa is delaying Rafael Soriano
from making his first appearance at Washington Nationals
General manager Mike Rizzo wouldn't confirm the reason for Soriano's absence.
Pitchers and catchers took their physicals Wednesday. On Thursday morning, Soriano, a native of the Domincan Republic, still hadn't reported and multiple media reports cited a problem with his visa as the cause of what is expected to be a short-term delay.
Soriano signed as a free agent and is expected to be the primary closer. He served in that role for the New York Yankees last season, replacing injured ninth-inning man Mariano Rivera
, and then declined a player option to remain in New York for 2013. He saved 42 games with a 2.26 ERA in 69 appearances last season.
The Nationals signed Soriano to a two-year, $28 million deal.
Holdover relievers Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard have experience in the ninth-inning role.
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