Soriano not in Nats camp as workouts begin

Soriano not in Nats camp as workouts begin
February 14, 2013, 10:00 am
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Updated at 1:45 p.m.

VIERA, Fla. -- As Nationals pitchers and catchers took the field for their first official workout of the spring, one significant name was missing: Rafael Soriano.

Held up in his native Dominican Republic by a visa issue, Soriano won't make it to Viera for another few days, the club said.

It's not uncommon for Latin American players' arrivals to spring training to be delayed because of work visa issues, and manager Davey Johnson said he's not concerned about any effect Soriano's tardiness may have on his team.

"I'm not really worried about him," Johnson said. "Because here's a veteran pitcher. He knows what he needs to do to get ready. So I've been used to dealing with that kind of stuff with visa problems. But they've got great weather down there, I'm sure he's not just sitting in watching TV. I'm sure he'll come into camp in good shape. That's the least of my worries."

The Nationals signed the 33-year-old reliever to a two-year, $28 million contract -- though half of his salary is deferred -- in late-January, a surprising move considering they already had two other right-handers with closing experience on the roster in Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard.

Johnson made it clear yesterday that Soriano will be his primary closer entering the season, with Storen and Clippard as backup options.

"He's obviously coming in going to be my closer," Johnson said. "But I have also a lot of confidence in some other guys who can be my closer, and that's a good problem to have."