Beat writer Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times reports that right-handed reliever Juan Carlos Oviedo — formerly known as Leo Nunez — finally reported to Rays camp this weekend.
Oviedo was held up by work visa issues in the Dominican Republic — his native country. “I’m happy to be here. I was waiting for it, I was anxious to be here, but I didn’t know what was going on,” he told the Tampa Bay Times. “I just trained at home and waited for things to happen.”
The 32-year-old signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Rays in December. He hasn’t pitched at the major league level since 2011 but Rays manager Joe Maddon expects him to be a contributor in 2014.
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.