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Sosa Is Coming, Sosa Is Coming

Jorge Sosa signed with the Washington Nationals just about four months ago. Only today, though, did Sosa receive approval to actually join them. The relief pitcher, stranded in the Dominican Republic because of visa problems, was finally granted his work visa and will join the organization's extended spring training in Viera, Fla.

Though his delayed arrival ruined his chances to make the Opening Day roster, Sosa could still figure into the bullpen picture if the current group of relievers struggles. For now, the Nationals want Sosa to work himself back into shape in Florida. After that, the 30-year-old will pitch in Class AAA Syracuse.

"He's going to be part of our inventory," Manager Manny Acta said.

Until the organization heard word of Sosa's visa approval, it had almost given up on the pitcher, signed to a non-guaranteed minor league deal. Several weeks ago, the team removed Sosa's name from the Space Coast Stadium locker. Then, it gave his uniform number (55) to Julian Tavarez.

Sosa, who has been working out in the Dominican Republic, is a veteran of seven big league seasons (40-49, 4.67 ERA), and pitched in 2008 with the Mets. But he won't be eligible to pitch right away with Syracuse, because he is currently in the middle of a 50-game minor league suspension for amphetamines. That link to performance enhancing drugs, the result of a positive test last summer, complicated the visa process.

There is a context to add here, too. It is fitting this news came on the day of the Nats' final Florida spring training game. All spring, at least in the early weeks, a few of the media members (mostly me) made a daily habit of asking Acta about Sosa's status. It became kind of a running joke, especially because the question always returned the same answer. In the last few weeks, to the disappointment of nobody, I stopped asking Acta about Sosa. So did everybody else.

So picture this scene: Today, in the little pre-game meeting with the media, Acta hopped up on a dugout bench, broke into a wide smile and said, before taking a question, "Jorge Sosa has been granted his visa."

The ensuing reaction?

"Get out of here!" one of us said.

"You're lying!"

"April Fools was yesterday!"

But indeed, he's coming.

"Breaking news," Acta said, laughing. "It only took a month-and-a-half."

By Chico Harlan  |  April 2, 2009; 1:05 PM ET
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Next: Beer. Rent. The Important Things in Life.


Top of the 1st so far: Maxwell struck out, Guzman doubled off top of wall, Zimmerman singled. Dunn pops out (foul). Kearns walks (loading bases). Willingham singles (2 score).

Posted by: kfisher32 | April 2, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Olsen hits Utley, give up two-run HR to Howard. 2-2 after one

Posted by: sjt1455 | April 2, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

again with the inventory...

Posted by: NatsNut | April 2, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

good story. keep giving us context. it's sometimes the best part.

Posted by: NatsNut | April 2, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

"Olsen hits Utley"

Sweet! I'm starting to like this kid.

Posted by: joebleux | April 2, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

"Olsen hits Utley"

So what do you think the sign was on that pitch? Middle finger down from Flores?

Posted by: nunof1 | April 2, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

1-2-3, the Nats go down in the 2nd.

Posted by: cokedispatch | April 2, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Feliz goes deep for Phils...3-2 bad guys, still batting...get it out of your system Olie.

Posted by: cokedispatch | April 2, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

again with the inventory...

Posted by: NatsNut | April 2, 2009 1:28 PM

You might be surprised to learn that that's the Washington Post's in-house term for readers. Except for Chico. He calls us mise en place.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 2, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

I have been having nightmares lately... in some of them Olsen is pitching, in some of them Cabrerra is pitching, and in some Shawn Hill is pitching... for the Padres. They are all terrifying.

Posted by: kfisher32 | April 2, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Stop drinking juice straight from the pitcher before you go to bed - the'll stop.

Posted by: BinM | April 2, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Z-MAN...does it again and ties it up 3-3 with a bomb...followed by a Dunn single.

Posted by: cokedispatch | April 2, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

"Olsen hits Utley"???

Taking his direction from John Lannan, huh?

We don't accept imitators here, Scott. Lanna's an original, and he must remain so.

Posted by: fischy | April 2, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Nice 6-4-3 double play grounded into by Kearns.

Posted by: kfisher32 | April 2, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Dunn erased via DP grounder by Kearns, followed by a groundout by Willingham...3-3 after 2 1/2.

Posted by: cokedispatch | April 2, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Howard hit is TENTH homer of the Spring (in 69 AB's)! Before today's game, he was hitting .294/.380/.706. Yikes! If he maintains this productivity for more than half the season then be afraid, be very afraid ...

Posted by: erocks33 | April 2, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

This is the first time Flores has squatted down behind Utley since he was taken out by him at the plate last September, isn't it? Utley deserved plunking no matter who was on the mound. If Chico is a baseball writer rather than a food writer, his first question to Manny after the game will be whether or not that was a retaliation pitch. Of course we all know that Manny will deny it, but the question needs to be asked nonetheless.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 2, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Geez -- it's a good thing we have Olsen and Cabrera, and not Hill...

We wouldn't want someone who can get batters out...

Posted by: fischy | April 2, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Feliz strikes again, with a 2 run double. Ouch...runners on 2nd & 3rd with 2 outs now, bottom 3rd.

Posted by: cokedispatch | April 2, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

5-3 phoolies after 3.

Posted by: cokedispatch | April 2, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

With that defense, I'm not sure that even Nolan Ryan could throw a no-hitter.

Posted by: Uncle_Teddy | April 2, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Zimm goes deep again, 8-5 Nats!

Posted by: sjt1455 | April 2, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I second NatsNut on the story, and the context.

I was intrigued upon checking the box to see that Utley had been plunked, and I laughed out loud at your Flores sign, nunof.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 2, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Kearns with a HR

Posted by: wnorton81 | April 2, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Attaboy, Kearnsy!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 2, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

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