This Christmas was a homecoming of sorts for Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher José Alvarado. The hard-throwing lefty did what many of us take for granted on Monday when he welcomed some visitors he hadn't seen in over two years.
In a story for MLB.com, Todd Zolecki spent time with Alvarado and his family as they reconnected for the holidays and spoke about some of the diplomatic hurdles he faced trying to get them to legally be able to travel into the United States from Venezuela.
“What’s most important is having your family with you,” Alvarado said per Zolecki. “I never lost the faith. I knew it was going to happen, but it was a slow process. I just kept trusting the team that was working for me would make this happen.”
By team, Alvarado is not just talking about the Philadelphia Phillies. Due to the complicated nature of obtaining visas to travel to the United States from Venezuela, it was a process that took government intervention and some much needed diplomacy in order to make this family reunion possible.
Thanks to the efforts of Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey’s office in working through some red tape, Alvarado was able to spend the holidays with his mother, sister, and two of his children for the first time since 2021. That's certainly something worth celebrating.
The 28-year-old Alvarado is coming off a dominant regular season out of the Phillies bullpen. The lefty flame-thrower finished 2023 with a 1.74 ERA, 10 saves, and 64 strikeouts in 41 1/3 innings pitched. With the Phillies still without a closer, Alvarado could be that guy next season if the team doesn't make a free agent signing or a trade this offseason.