After 16 months, Yankees prospect DePaula finally gets visa

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Right-hander Jose Rafael DePaula, who was originally known as Rafael DePaula Figueroa before coming forward with a new name and age, had his visa approved and is finally expected to travel to the U.S. next week for his Yankees physical.

After serving a one-year suspension for falsifying his identity, DePaula was signed by the Yankees in Nov. 2010, receiving a $500,000 bonus. In the 16 months since, he’s worked out at the Yankees’ academy in the Dominican Republic while attempting to secure a visa.

According to his current documentation, DePaula turns 21 on March 24. Baseball America says he was throwing in the mid-90s when he signed with the Yankees, but it also has sources saying he’s reaching the high-90s with his heater now. If true, he could quickly emerge as one of the team’s best prospects this year.