Stop me if you have heard this one before: Ronald Belisario says he will join the Dodgers in spring training. "He should be ready to go," Belisario's agent Rick Oliver told Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. The important wrinkle here is that Belisario now has received his work visa, which he did not get last season.
But just because Belisario is expected to join the Dodgers on time doesn't mean he will, or that he will have a spot waiting for him in the bullpen when he gets there.
Belisario, who turns 29 on December 31, was the surprise of 2009 spring training, making the club and providing 71 innings of quality relief for a team that went to its second straight NLCS. Belisario did show up late that season to spring training, but in hindsight that was his most punctual spring training to date with the Dodgers.
In 2010 Belisario showed up late again, a whopping 35 days late, and began the season on the restricted list as he got in shape in Arizona. Later in the summer he was placed on the restricted list again and reportedly received treatment for substance abuse. Belisario had trouble getting a visa in 2011 thanks to a combination of his checkered past and his own laziness, and didn't report to spring training at all. He remains on the restricted list to this day.
He has been pitching in the Venezuelan Winter League, and has a 4.09 ERA with 15 walks and 21 strikeouts as the closer for los Bravos de Margarita. If Belisario comes back, that is great, as it gives the Dodgers another option for their bullpen. But Belisario no longer has the benefit of the doubt. Show up to camp first, and on time for once. Then we can talk about your role on the team.
In other news, old friend Casey Blake signed a one-year, non-guaranteed deal worth $2 million with the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday, with up to $1 million in bonuses.