Progress possible on Pie's visa issue
Orioles outfielder hasn't been able to travel to U.S. from Dominican
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- The Orioles began to cut through some red tape Monday, when they appeared to make progress on getting left fielder Felix Pie into camp.
Andy MacPhail, Baltimore's president of baseball operations, said that Pie's visa issue has begun to clear up, potentially clearing the path for him to join the team by the end of the week.
"We actually have some reason for optimism that we'll get this thing resolved in the next few days," said MacPhail, who acquired Pie from the Cubs earlier this winter. "But until you're there, you [never] know."
Pie, who was expected to be Baltimore's starting left fielder, is five days late to Spring Training and may start seeing his chance at regular playing time deteriorate if he doesn't arrive soon. MacPhail, who also had Pie when both were with the Cubs, said that he couldn't remember the player having these type of problems.
The Orioles sent David Stockstill, the team's director of player development, to the Dominican Republic late last week in the hope of untangling the snafu. Stockstill had to wait until Monday for the U.S. Consulate to open, and MacPhail said that the club has a greater sense of the mini-crisis because of its presence on the scene.
"We're fortunate that he's working out at the facility in Boca Chica," MacPhail said of Pie. "He's there taking fly balls in left field and hitting. And he played winter ball with Licey this year. We'd just rather have him here."
MacPhail also said that once the visa issue is resolved, Pie could be on the next plane to Florida. The Orioles will begin playing Spring Training games on Wednesday, and manager Dave Trembley would like to see Pie as soon as possible.
"It's getting to the point where it's important for him to get here," Trembley said Sunday. "We're going to start playing games, and I want to get him acclimated to his new teammates and coaching staff. I would concur that I'll feel a whole lot better when he gets here."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.