Rafael Soriano (born December 19, 1979 in San José de Ocoa, Dominican Republic) is a Major League Baseball relief pitcher for the New York Yankees. He bats and throws right-handed. Soriano throws a moving fastball in the mid to upper 90s, which has been known to reach triple digits, along with a slider and scarcely used changeup.
Soriano was signed as an amateur free agent by the Seattle Mariners in 1996. He was signed as an outfielder before being converted to a pitcher. He made his Major League debut with the Mariners on May 5, 2002. After an effective 2003 season, Soriano suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, and underwent Tommy John surgery on August 17, 2004. He would return to the Majors on September 10, 2005. Soriano suffered a concussion on August 29, 2006, after being struck behind the ear by a line drive hit from Angels slugger Vladimir Guerrero. He was released from the hospital the following afternoon.
Soriano was traded to the Atlanta Braves from the Mariners on December 7, 2006, in exchange for left-handed pitcher Horacio Ramírez. In an offseason article, ESPN explained why they believed that Soriano was a significantly better player than Ramirez. Soriano had a mixed bag of success and disappointment in his first season in Atlanta, primarily serving as the setup man to closer Bob Wickman. Soriano became the Braves closer after Wickman was designated for assignment in August. He earned his first save since May 10 on August 30.