Jackie Gutierrez, the Baltimore Orioles' new infielder, has obtained his U.S. visa and is expected to fly to Baltimore to be checked out early next week, team officials announced yesterday.
The Orioles hope Gutierrez, whose home is in Cartagena, Colombia, can spend a couple of days with one of his two brothers, who live in Miami, then fly to Baltimore Monday, General Manager Hank Peters said.
The Orioles are anxious to get an up-close look at Gutierrez, who was released by two Latin America teams this winter and reportedly has had some mental or emotional problems.
His brother, Francisco, said last week: "He's okay. He just had some mental problems."
But the Orioles haven't been able to make a determination of the situation, which is what they hope to do next week.
"We do know he obtained his visa," Peters said. "When he gets into Miami, we then hope to make some arrangements to have him come to Baltimore."
The matter is important, not only because the Orioles gave up reliever Sammy Stewart in a trade with the Boston Red Sox this winter, but because they would like to give Gutierrez a chance to win the third-base job, which would allow Floyd Rayford to move behind the plate.