Henry Rodriguez's visa delay should end Tuesday
Right-handed reliever Henry Rodriguez, the pitcher the Nationals acquired along with outfielder Corey Brown by trading Josh Willingham to the Oakland A's, should arrive Tuesday after being delayed by a visa issue all spring, Manager Jim Riggleman said.
Rodriguez, a native of Venezuela, has been waiting for the issue to clear for two weeks, long enough for the matter to become almost comical. "I'm hearing that Henry is going to be here Tuesday ... May 4," Riggleman said, chuckling. "No, Tuesday."
The Nationals expect Rodriguez to fit into the back of their bullpen and perhaps compete with Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard for the closer role. Rodriguez, 24, has reached 103 miles per hour with his fastball and could become a dominating reliever if he hones his control. In 27 2/3 innings for the A's last year, during which he compiled a 4.55 ERA, Rodriguez struck out 33 but also walked 13.
Rodriguez has been throwing will awaiting his visa, but the Nationals will make him catch up to their other pitchers before he throws in a game. Once Rodriguez arrives, he will throw two bullpen sessions and at least one session of live batting practice before appearing in a game, Riggleman said.
Elvin Ramirez, the other Nationals' reliever delayed by a visa issue, has thrown two bullpen sessions. The Nationals will have him pitch one live batting practice session and then decide if he should throw another or pitch in their accelerated minor league camp before taking the mound in a spring training game.
"He looked strong yesterday," Riggleman said. "He's feeling good. The rotation on his breaking ball, it appears he must have been throwing. Usually, you wouldn't be advanced with that at this point unless you've thrown in January and all that."
| February 27, 2011; 9:42 AM ET
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