Perez given work visa early
Veteran hurler able to join team due to Rijo's string-pulling
VIERA, Fla. -- Left-hander Odalis Perez received his work visa from the Dominican Republic on Wednesday and is allowed to play in spring games. His first game will be on Saturday against the Dodgers, his former team.
Perez wasn't scheduled to get his work visa until March 27, but Jose Rijo, the team's special assistant to general manager Jim Bowden, pulled some strings and was able to get Perez's visa expedited.
In his last start on Sunday against the Nationals' Minor Leaguers, Perez pitched 3 1/3 innings and gave up three runs, but only one of them was earned. He threw 60 pitches, 38 of them for strikes. Perez had problems throwing his cutter for strikes and his fastball was often up in the zone.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.