Former top prospect Angel Villalona has reportedly obtained his work visa and will report to the San Francisco Giants Spring Training facilities in Arizona next week, according to Baseball America’s Ben Badler. The Dominican Republic native has not appeared in a game stateside since the 2009 season.
Villalona missed the 2010 and 2011 seasons while on Major League Baseball’s restricted list. In September 2009 he had been charged with murder in his hometown of La Romana. He was involved in a bar fight which resulted in the death of 25 year old Mario Felix de Jesus Velete. Charges would eventually be dropped, though it’s been reported that he eventually settled with the family for approximately $139,000. After spending two years on MLB’s restricted list he was unable to secure a visa last season.
Initially signed as a 16 year old international free agent in 2006, Villalona was given a $2.1 Million signing bonus. According to Badler, there were rumors that he had sued the Giants organization for a breach of contract but appears that the two sides have moved past that matter. San Francisco added the now 22 year old to their 40-man roster prior to the 2012 season, once MLB removed him from the restricted list. Villalona was able to play for the team’s affiliate in the Dominican Summer League. He hit .303/.430/.497 with 7 HR in 193 PA over 44 games.