Dominican righthander Simon Mercedes has received his visa from the U.S. Consulate, putting him one step closer to officially joining the Red Sox.
Mercedes will still need official approval of his contract from Major League Baseball, but a visa is a major step toward the end of the process.
Mercedes, 20, signed with the Red Sox for $800,000 in March. He had previously signed with the Giants for $400,000 in 2011, but that deal fell apart and MLB declared him ineligible to sign for one year, although MLB has never publicly stated why Mercedes received the penalty. He is still using the same name and date of birth he used to sign with the Giants.
At 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, Mercedes has touched 96 mph with his fastball and has flashed an average to above-average breaking ball, though he'll need to smooth some things out with his mechanics. Since Mercedes signed before July 2, his bonus will not count against Boston's 2012-13 international signing bonus pool of $2.9 million.
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