PEORIA, Ariz. — Mariners first baseman Dae-Ho Lee is expected to return Thursday to Vancouver, Canada, in order to get a work visa required to pursue his dream to play in the big leagues.
General manager Jerry Dipoto confirmed Lee, a Korean native, traveled Tuesday to Vancouver for a meeting regarding his application for a work visa.
Lee was in camp Wednesday but not on the Mariners’ roster when they opened their Cactus League season with a 7-0 victory over San Diego at Peoria Stadium.
Dipoto said the club expected Lee to be back in camp Friday with a work visa in hand. Lee is battling Jesus Montero and Gaby Sanchez for duty as a right-handed partner to first baseman Adam Lind.
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The Mariners signed Lee, 33, on Feb. 3 to a minor-league deal that permits him to become a free agent in late March through an opt-out clause.
Lee spent the last four years in Japan after an 11-year career in Korea. He was picked last season as the most valuable player in the Japan Series after leading the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks to the title.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners