Rafael Soriano was late reporting to the Nationals’ spring training complex this week because of an issue with his work visa. But that’s all settled now.
According to MLB.com’s Bill Ladson, the Dominican right-hander arrived in Viera, Florida on Saturday morning. He was greeted in the clubhouse by Nats general manager Mike Rizzo and new teammate Gio Gonzalez, and then held court with reporters.
“I’m so happy to be here,” Soriano said. “I come here and [we will] see what happens the next two weeks. I want to be comfortable with everybody here and win this year. … I want to win. That’s all I’m here for.”
Soriano signed a two-year, $28 million free agent contract with Washington this offseason after registering a fantastic 2.26 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 69/24 K/BB ratio across 67 2/3 innings last summer for the Yankees. The 33-year-old is expected to function as the Nationals’ primary ninth-inning man in 2013.
Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.
The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.
That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.