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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Giants prospect Villalona has his visa delayed in Dominican Republic for weight, health issues

San Francisco Giants prospect Angel Villalona has had his visa delayed back home in the Dominican Republic for what the team was told are weight and health issues.

Bobby Evans, Giants vice president of baseball operations, says the club is hopeful the concerns of the U.S. Consulate in the Dominican Republic are “short-lived.”

“We’re hoping we’ll be able to get past the delay at some point,” Evans said Tuesday. “They cited health reasons and he’s on a visa that’s really set aside for elite athletes, which is an expectation that he’s in a certain level of conditioning that would afford him that opportunity. And they didn’t deem him where he should be, and yet we’ve been working with him the last couple of months and feel like he’s awful close, so we’re a little disappointed.”

Villalona was charged in the September 2009 death of a 25-year-old man at a bar in his Caribbean homeland. He was freed on bond that November after the family of the deceased asked a judge to drop the case. But Villalona was also stripped of his U.S. visa at the time.

Last October, Villalona said he had dropped a lawsuit against the Giants seeking $5 million in damages after the team decided to reinstate him to its farm system. He alleged the Giants kept him on the inactive list even though he had been cleared of homicide charges. Villalona had sought back wages and punitive damages.

Now, he has a locker at Scottsdale Stadium waiting for his spring arrival — if it happens, that is. Villalona was added to the Giants’ 40-man roster in November.

He received a $2.1 million bonus when San Francisco signed him at age 16 in August 2006. It was the biggest bonus the franchise had ever given to an amateur player.

He was considered among the club’s top prospects before the 2008 season and was selected for the Futures Game during All-Star festivities that year. San Francisco reportedly outbid the New York Yankees, Mets, Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners for Villalona.

The 6-foot-3, 200-pound slugging first baseman had drawn comparisons to Alex Rodriguez, Adrian Beltre and Wily Mo Pena. He played in 74 games for Class-A San Jose in ‘09, batting .267 with nine home runs and 42 RBIs.

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Source: Washington Post

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