PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Fernando Salas, the Mets’ projected setup man to begin the season, has been prohibited from playing in Grapefruit League games because he has yet to receive a work visa, sources told Newsday.
Salas, 31, has been limited to simulated games, the latest of which came Wednesday at the team’s complex here. But the Mets expect that a resolution could come early as next week.
According to a team official, Salas intends to pick up a work visa in Mexico while playing for Team Mexico during the World Baseball Classic, for which he already had acquired the proper visa. Playing in the tournament will allow Salas to face batters in a game for the first time this spring.
Salas had a 2.08 ERA in 17 appearances with the Mets last season after his trade from the Angels. The Mets re-signed Salas to a one-year, $3-million deal just before camp.
With Jeurys Familia likely to be suspended at the start of the season, Addison Reed will close with Salas sliding in as the setup man.
Visa issues aren’t uncommon during the spring. Lefty Odalis Perez faced a similar situation while with the Nationals in 2008. He was barred from pitching in exhibition games until later in camp, when he returned to the Dominican Republic to secure his work visa.