With visa problems over, Beltre to debut

With visa problems over, Beltre to debut

ANAHEIM -- Right-hander Omar Beltre will make his long-awaited Major League debut on Wednesday after visa issues did not allow him to enter the United States from 2005-09.

Beltre, 26, went through a five-year ban from entering the U.S. for his involvement in a human-trafficking ring in 2004 in the Dominican Republic and was understandably excited about the prospects of making his debut against the Angels.

"It's been a special thing that's happened to me," Beltre said. "I worked really hard, and I'm happy it happened. When you work hard you get good results, and I've been working hard, and this is the fruit of it."

Beltre also was excited about being reunited with Rangers right-hander Alexi Ugando, who also was banned from the U.S. for five years before the two were granted visas in February and participated in Spring Training.

Beltre, though, battled elbow problems during Spring Training and was sent to Triple-A Oklahoma City where he posted an 0-5 record and a 2.39 ERA in 15 appearances, including five starts.

It was enough to impress manager Ron Washington, who decided to give Beltre the nod with right-hander Colby Lewis getting an additional two days of rest with his start being moved back to Friday against the White Sox.

"He's a strike-thrower so that's a good thing," Washington said of Beltre. "He has good movement. I think tomorrow he'll go out there and try to pitch to the game plan and execute, and if he does that he'll keep us in the game. And that's what all we want."