Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Rafael Soriano participated in his first workout with the Nationals today.
"I wanted to be here a little bit early and be with my new team," the reliever said. "So I go and try to get my visa, and I see nothing happens. So now I have to wait and see what happens."
Soriano, who has been throwing on his own at home, finally got word yesterday morning his visa was approved and immediately made plans to fly to Florida.
"The guy called me and said: 'Hey, I got your passport. You can go anytime you want,'" the 33-year-old closer said. "So I said: 'Let me get a flight and get here.'"
Signed in late-January to a two-year, $28 million contract -- with $14 million of the money deferred -- Soriano has been through
plenty of big-league camps over his career, but few in which he entered knowing his exact role.
Though he owns 132 career saves, this is only the second time Soriano has reported for spring training knowing he would be his team's closer. (He entered 2010 with the Rays knowing, as well.)
Soriano said the opportunity to be the Nationals' primary closer was a major factor in his decision to sign. Now he just needs to navigate his way through the long grind of spring training before bursting out of the bullpen for his first save situation in April.
"I cannot wait for the season to start," he said. "To me, I feel like that will be the moment, the time for me. And I want to be ready and healthy to help the team win."