Left-hander Perez granted work visa

Left-hander Perez granted work visa

VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals left-hander Odalis Perez received good news on Tuesday. He will go to the Dominican Republic on Wednesday to pick up his work visa, according to a baseball source.

Once he gets the visa, Perez can play in Major League exhibition games. The first one for Perez is expected to come later this week. Perez recently had a tourist visa and played Minor League games.

Perez wasn't scheduled to get his work visa until March 27, but Jose Rijo, the team's special assistant to general manager Jim Bowden, pulled some strings and was able to get Perez's visa earlier than expected.

In his last start on Sunday against the Nationals' Minor Leaguers, Perez pitched 3 1/3 innings and gave up three runs, but only one was earned. He threw 60 pitches, while 38 of them went for strikes. Perez had problems throwing his cutter for strikes and his fastball was often up in the zone.

Perez acknowledged that day that he would rather face Major League hitters.

"It's frustrating," he said. "I want to pitch in the big league level. I want to show what I got. I signed with this team because I want to pitch in the big leagues. I don't want to be wasting more time.

"The Minor League guys love to swing the bat. With the big league [players], they are more mature. They make you make pitches. They make you work with your pitches. In the Minor Leagues, you throw the ball and they are ready to rake."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.