Beltre, Ogando cleared to enter U.S.

Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine confirmed Saturday that pitchers Omar Beltre and Alexi Ogando, from the Dominican Republic, have their visas and should arrive at spring training next week.

"They have cleared every hurdle save actually getting on the plane and passing through customs in the U.S.," Levine said. "They are scheduled to fly to Phoenix on the 16th. We are eagerly awaiting their arrival in Surprise."

The pitching prospects were involved in a human trafficking ring in the Dominican Republic and banned from entering the United States for five years.

"There was an organized crime group that was effectively preying on young baseball players," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said earlier this month when word came the two would gain admittance to the U.S. "They had lined up a number of them to marry women that wanted to get into the U.S. A number of them agreed to do it, including Alexi and Omar. The women that were married got access in the U.S., and by the time the players went to their visa appointments to come over, the State Department realized what happened and denied access to all players involved."

Richard Durrett covers the Rangers for ESPN Dallas. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.