VIERA, Fla. -- The official report date for pitchers and catchers to Nationals camp was Wednesday, and as the team gathered for a Thursday morning meeting, newly acquired closer Rafael Soriano was absent due to a visa issue.
The Nationals' public relations staff confirmed that Soriano was being delayed by the visa issue, and it is a day-to-day situation. The club hopes to see him in Florida soon.
"I'm not really worried about him because here's a veteran pitcher," manager Davey Johnson said. "He knows what he needs to do to get ready. I've been used to dealing with that kinda stuff -- visa problems. They've got good weather down there, I'm sure he's not just sitting around watching TV. I'm sure he'll come to camp in good shape. That's the least of my worries."
Soriano was signed to a two-year, $28 million contract in January to be the Nationals' closer -- adding to a strong bullpen that already includes Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard, who each have ninth-inning experience.
Soriano, a native of the Dominican Republic, is coming off one of the best years of his career while with the Yankees. The 33-year-old right-hander saved 42 games while posting a 2.26 ERA in 69 appearances in the closer's role after Mariano Rivera tore his right ACL in May.
Not wanting to be a setup man, Soriano opted out of his contract with New York after he learned that Rivera was going to come back for the 2013 season.