A visa issue delayed his arrival by a few days, but after getting his visa stamped yesterday, Soriano arrived at Space Coast Stadium this morning, ready to get things started.
He gave a hug to Gio Gonzalez, briefly chatted with pitching coach Steve McCatty as Latin music played from his iPhone and then went to go get in his first workout in a Nats hat.
“I’m so happy to be here,” Soriano said. “I wanted to be a little bit early and be with my new team. I go to try to get my visa and I see nothing happened. I said, ‘All right,’ and now I got to wait and see what happens.
“I’ve been doing my work. Yesterday, I be on the beach and do my work there, and the guy, he called me and said, ‘Hey, you’ve got your passport, so you can go whatever time you want.’ I said, “All right, let me get a flight and get here.’ “
Soriano said he’s been throwing and staying in shape recently. He won’t throw a bullpen session yet - none of the Nats pitchers are scheduled to step on a mound today, as the schedule instead calls for various fielding drills - but that should come in the next day or two.
“Yeah, I throw and do everything,” Soriano said. “I know what I have to do to be ready. I throw my bullpens, long-toss, everything.”
After signing a two-year, $28 million deal with the Nats, Soriano will step into the closer’s role. For just the second time in his career, he enters spring training knowing he’ll be the ninth-inning guy, as compared to having to battle for a certain position in the bullpen.
“I tried to find the team that they need help,” Soriano said. “I think I make a good decision with my lawyer. I come here and everybody’s young and (we) got a good team. I’m here and we’ll see what happens.
“I want to win. That’s all. That’s what I’m here for.”
As Soriano wrapped up his brief chat with McCatty and prepared to go work out, he immediately got a taste of the pitching coach’s sense of humor.
“Your back been hurting from all that money you’ve been carrying?” McCatty joked, the two men then sharing a laugh.
Meanwhile, Jordan Zimmermann finally has his contract for this season resolved after agreeing Friday night to a $5.35 million deal with the Nats for 2013. Zimmermann said that it was good to have the negotiations complete, and while he would be open to talking with the Nats about a long-term deal, it’s not something he’s focused on right now.
“We’ve going to take a few days off and just relax and just worry about the baseball part of it and try to get ready for the season,” Zimmerman said. “If something does pop up, we’ll be there to listen.
Zimmermann and the Nats had an arbitration hearing scheduled for Feb. 19 if they hadn’t been able to reach a deal. Instead of going in front of an arbiter, however, the righty can now focus solely on baseball.
“Like I said the whole time, we were ready to go (to arbitration),” Zimmermann said. “We got to a number that we felt was fair for us, and we took the deal.”