According to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News, controversial prospect Angel Villalonahas been approved by U.S. Immigration for a work visa.
The San Francisco Giants have announced that they expect Villalona to report for spring training on February 23. When he arrives back on U.S. soil, it will be for the first time in two and half years, a time during which he was charged with murder in his native Dominican Republic.
The case involved a bar shooting in La Romana that left Mario Felix de Jesus Velete, 25, dead. Villalona remained on house arrest for two years. While the charges were eventually dropped, Villalona saw his status as a player rapidly decline, as his name became associated with a brutal crime.
News broke late last year that Major League Baseball had removed Villalona from its restricted list, prompting the Giants to add him to their 40-man roster for safekeeping.
Prior to his legal woes, Villalona was signed at 16 for a record-breaking $2.1 million bonus. He plays first base and swings for power. Should all go as planned, he could report for an extended spring training stay this year before resuming his tenure with Single-A San Jose of the rest of 2012.
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