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Oriental back with Royals

Oriental back with Royals

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Outfield prospect Rene Oriental, after an absence of about five years, is returning to the Royals.

Oriental, whose work visa from the Dominican Republic was revoked in 2004, was cleared to travel to the United States and he was expected to report to the Royals' camp here on Friday night.

He was among several Dominican Republic players who were paid to marry strangers in a scheme to get the women into the United States. The American consulate uncovered the fraud and revoked the work visas for Minor League players in several organizations.

Oriental, 25, played two short seasons in rookie ball for the Royals, batting .214 in 2002 and .247 with five homers and 27 RBIs in 2003. He missed 2004 with right shoulder surgery.

"He still has some ability," said Rene Francisco, the Royals' special assistant in charge of international operations. "He's a big guy, 6-4, 240 pounds, and I have to say he's strong and has got a lot of power."

Oriental was checked out by the Royals at their academy in the Dominican.

"So we'll see. We're going to bring him in and we'll go from there. He's glad to be back in professional baseball, I know that," Francisco said.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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