Rafael Soriano, first lieutenant in the Dominican Air Force


James Wagner of the Washington Post has a good article about Nationals closer Rafael Soriano, who enlists in the Dominican Republic’s Air Force when he goes home during the offseason:

Soriano was brought into the Dominican Air Force, an honorary placement, a distinction also bestowed upon other major leaguers from the Dominican. But Soriano took it a step further. He began coaching the Air Force’s baseball team, serving as an unofficial pitching coach during the offseason.

Soriano, 33, is back at home in the Dominican now with his family and soon he will begin stopping by the nearby military base to coach this year’s baseball team. He donates gloves, bats and uniforms. He has risen all the way to first lieutenant, with a promotion to captain coming perhaps this winter, he said.

Go read the whole article, because it’s cool stuff.

Henderson Alvarez signs with Tigres de Quintana Roo

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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.