Masahiro Tanaka Has Visa, Will Be in US Before Spring Training
After the Yankees said they wouldn’t spend a ton of money this offseason, they went out and spent a ton of money on three players: Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran and 25 year old Japanese pitching phenom Masahiro Tanaka.
Masahiro Tanaka needed a work visa because he is from Japan. The process of getting one can take up to a month, which would have kept Tanaka out of a large portion of Yankees’ Spring Training, which starts next Saturday, February 15.
New York Senator Charles Schumer used his position of power to help one of his biggest business constituents by speeding up the visa application process quite a bit for Tanaka. Schumer told the NY Daily News:
“My office works tirelessly to help constituents every single day, but it’s not often you get a call from a constituent like the New York Yankees.
You see, the Yankees called me a couple of days ago to say they were worried about Masahiro Tanaka getting to spring training on time due to the length of time it can take for foreign players to get a visa.
Foreign baseball players apply for something called a P-visa and the whole process can take up to a month; but with pitchers and catchers reporting on February 14th, it was very possible he wasn’t going to make it. So I made sure we had someone go to the mailroom at USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), pull his application and get it processed quickly – something I have done in the past for the Mets as well, when they had a similar issue with Jose Reyes.
According to ESPN New York, the process is complete and Tanaka should be able to depart for the United States as early as this Sunday, giving him almost a week to prepare for Spring Training.
The Yankees tweeted about Senator Schumer’s help about a week ago:
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) January 30, 2014
I don’t know about you guys, but I’m itching for baseball season to start. Pitchers and catchers report in less than a week! Be sure to keep up with RBTS for your baseball needs throughout the rest of the offseason and all through the regular and Postseason!