ST. PETERSBURG -- Juan Salas should be arriving soon, if what happened to Detroit reliever Francisco Cruceta can be used as a litmus test.
On Wednesday, the Tigers received news that the United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration had approved Cruceta's application for a visa to work in the United States. Salas has not yet reported to the Rays due to a similar visa problem and currently is on the restricted list.
The Rays have not offered many comments about Salas' situation, but there is a common belief that Salas, like Cruceta, encountered the delay due to the 50-game suspension he received last season after a positive test for performance-enhancing substances.
Salas was suspended May 7 and was reinstated on July 3 and optioned to Triple-A Durham. Upon his return he made seven appearances with the Bulls, going 1-0 with a save and a 2.08 ERA. The Rays recalled him from Durham on July 23 and he pitched in 19 games the remainder of the season, finishing with a 1-1 record wth a 3.72 ERA.
Salas was signed as a Minor League free agent by the Rays on July 8, 1998. He spent his first six professional seasons as a third baseman in the Rays' system. After not producing much power (28 home runs in more than 2,000 at-bats), Salas was converted into a pitcher in 2005. In 2006, he reached the Major Leagues with the Rays, and was named MiLB.com Reliever of the Year.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.