VIERA, Fla. - Nationals pitchers and catchers are getting ready to take the fields for their first official workout of spring.
All of them, that is, except for Rafael Soriano, who has not yet been seen at Nats camp. The deadline for pitchers and catchers to report was midnight Tuesday.
Soriano's locker has clearly not been touched since it was assembled by the Nationals' clubhouse staff, and his parking pass still sits on the bottom ledge of the locker.
Despite inquiries, team officials have not offered official word on Soriano's status at this point. Asked yesterday whether everyone had reported to camp, general manager Mike Rizzo didn't reply with much certainty.
"I believe so. I think so," Rizzo said. "I don't think there is a visa issue or not."
Soriano signed a two-year, $28 million deal with the Nationals this offseason, establishing him as the clear-cut closer. The 33-year-old is a native of the Dominican Republic.
Soriano showed up late to Braves camp in 2007 because of a visa issue, a problem that often plagues Latin American players trying to get back into the United States for camp.
With the Yankees last season, Soriano recorded 42 saves and posted a 2.26 ERA with 69 strikeouts in 67 2/3 innings.
Update: In other quick-hit news ...
The Nationals' clubhouse is filling up ahead of tomorrow's report date for position players. Bryce Harper, Steve Lombardozzi and Anthony Rendon were among the new faces spotted this morning, with handshakes and hugs being given out all around.
There was one other new face in the clubhouse this morning, although that individual has actually been in camp for a while now.
Danny Espinosa was fully clean-shaven this morning, having shed the massive beard that covered his face for the entirety of the offseason. It was a bit jarring to the eye at first, even for Espinosa's teammates, many of whom gathered around the second baseman to discuss his latest grooming move.
I'm heading out to the minor league fields for the morning workout. Back with more in a bit.
Update II: The Nationals have confirmed that Soriano is dealing with a visa issue. It's considered a day-to-day thing, but he's expected to be in camp soon.