Angel Villalona's visa not approved for medical reasons


Angel Villalona's visa not approved for medical reasons

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Former top prospect Angel Villalona no longer faces murder charges in the Dominican Republic, but he will not report by Thursday's deadline for position players because his visa has not been approved by the U.S. Consulate in Santo Domingo, Giants vice president Bobby Evans said.

Villalona was deemed unfit to qualify for his P1 visa, which requires that he establish his status as an elite athlete, Evans said. It's the first time the Giants could remember a player's visa being flagged for that reason.

Giants officials would not disclose Villalona's physical issues, saying that it is a combination of conditioning and medical reasons "that he has dealt with in the past."

"We don't know if this delay is 24 hours or two weeks," Evans said. "We're hoping we can convince them he is in the condition he should be."

Villalona, 21, has not stepped foot in the U.S. since September, 2009, when he left Single-A San Jose on an approved visit to the Dominican while on the disabled list with a strained quadriceps. While there, he was charged int he fatal shooting of a man in a bar near his hometown of La Romana. Charges eventually were dropped after nearly two years, during which time Villalona was either in custody or under house arrest.

Major League Baseball removed Villalona from its restricted list late last year and the Giants added him to their 40-man roster in December in order to protect another team from claiming him in the Rule 5 draft. Players on the 40-man roster receive automatic invites to major league spring training; Villalona has a locker in Scottsdale Stadium with his uniform and workout clothes awaiting him.

Conditioning was an issue for Villalona before his career was put on hold. The thickly built power hitter received a 2.1 million bonus as a 16-year-old -- a franchise record at the time.

Villalona has been working out at the Giants' facility in the Dominican Republic and has been part of a conditioning program that includes baseball work, Giants trainer Dave Groeschner said.

"We're pleased with where he's at on the baseball side," Evans said. "His weight is down from where we started and it's close to what we were targeting. So we're disappointed by the delay. ... We're also hopeful we'll be able to cross this line."

Giants lineup: Bochy places Arroyo right behind Posey vs Dodgers

Giants lineup: Bochy places Arroyo right behind Posey vs Dodgers

After recording his first hit in the big leagues, the Giants are making Christian Arroyo into Buster Posey's protection vs. the Dodgers.

Los Angeles Dodgers (10-11)

1. Cody Bellinger (L) LF
2. Corey Seager (L) SS
3. Justin Turner (R) 3B
4. Adrian Gonzalez (L) 1B
5. Yasmani Grandal (S) C
6. Yasiel Puig (R) RF
7. Chase Utley (L) 2B
8. Andrew Toles (L) CF
9. Alex Wood (R) P

San Francisco Giants (7-14)

1. Hunter Pence (R) RF
2. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
3. Eduardo Nunez (R) SS
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Christian Arroyo (R) 3B
6. Joe Panik (L) 2B
7. Gorkys Hernandez (R) LF
8. Drew Stubbs (R) CF
9. Johnny Cueto (R) P

Giants call up Morse, place Span on DL, put Crawford on bereavement list

Giants call up Morse, place Span on DL, put Crawford on bereavement list

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants scored 10 runs on the last road trip and three over the first two games against the Dodgers. They made a move Wednesday to try and address that issue. 

Michael Morse had his contract purchased from Triple-A Sacramento as part of a flurry of roster moves that included the call-up of Kelby Tomlinson. Brandon Crawford was put on the three-day bereavement list to attend the funeral services of his sister-in-law, Jennifer Pippin. Denard Span was placed on the disabled list with a right shoulder sprain and Jarrett Parker (shoulder) was transferred to the 60-day DL to clear a roster spot for Morse.

Morse, 35, came to camp with the Giants after a deal struck with Bobby Evans at Hunter Pence's wedding. It was his last shot at playing professional baseball, and as April approached, Morse had shown enough to be in position to make the opening day roster. A strained left hamstring ended those plans, but Morse stayed in Scottsdale to rehab before joining the San Jose Giants and River Cats. He was 5-for-20 in six rehab games but the reports given to team officials stated that he was having good at-bats. 

Morse was a popular presence during the 2014 title run, hitting 16 homers in the regular season and a huge one off Pat Neshek in the NLCS-clinching win over the Cardinals. The Giants could use his power bat in left, at first base, and off the bench. A struggling and banged-up team could also some personality added to the clubhouse, and Morse is always ready in that regard.

Tomlinson was optioned to Triple-A at the end of spring training. He was batting just .220 for Sacramento, but he gives the Giants a versatile glove with Crawford out.