After two consecutive seasons of reporting late to spring training because of visa problems, Ronald Belisario has made it a hat trick in 2011 by failing to report on the first day of camp on Wednesday. Last season, Belisario was so late -- 35 days late, to be exact -- that he was placed on the restricted list to begin the season. This year, Belisario would be lucky if that was his fate.
Belisario was placed on the restricted last July for what were termed "personal reasons" at the time by the Dodgers. Dylan Hernandez and Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reported a few days later that Belisario was undergoing substance abuse treatment, which was also mentioned by Ken Gurnick of MLB.com in his spring training preview. Whatever the reason for Belisario's absence, the latest check mark on an already full dance card for the reliever, it appears that reason has struck again for the reliever, as he is still stuck in Venezuela, and doesn't figure to return anytime soon. From Tony Jackson of ESPN LA:
"I'm just not very optimistic," said Paul Kinzer, Belisario's Atlanta-based agent. "He just has a lot of things he needs to get straightened out. Right now, I'm not optimistic for him [returning] for the whole season."
If Belisario does somehow show up to pitch for the Dodgers this season, just what can we expect on the mound? This shouldn't come as a surprise, but Belisario is somewhere in between the pitcher with the 2.04 ERA in 2009 and the one with the 5.04 ERA in 2010. What does look like an outlier is Belisario's strikeout rate from 2009, which was much higher than the rest of his career as a reliever.
|Ronald Belisario Strikeout Rates|
Belisario pitched very well in the Venezuelan Winter League this offseason. He was the closer for Bravos de Margarita, and picked up 14 saves and a 1.00 ERA in 18 innings, walking four while striking out 15.
If the picture in last year's Dodgers media guide is representative (and not just a one-time occurrence), Belisario bowls left-handed.
Belisario is still under team control this season, with one year, 133 days of service time. He could have had a shot at being arbitration eligible next winter as a "super two," provided he was among the top 17% of those with between two and three years service time, but that now seems highly unlikely. The service time cutoff for super twos this season was two years, 122 days, which was the lowest number in five years.
Belisario is also out of options, so the Dodgers can't send him to the minors without exposing him to waivers. Once Belisario is 10 days late, on February 26, they can place him on the restricted list, which would remove him from the 40-man roster.
|2011 Projections - Age 28 Season|
I hear Venezuela is beautiful in the summer.
UPDATE: The Belisario situation took another turn, according to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times:
Ronald Belisario told a Venezuelan newspaper that he lost his passport and that he should be able to report to to camp soon after obtaining a new one.
But that's news to Belisario’s agent, Paul Kinzer, who said on Wednesday that his client will probably miss the entire season because of his inability to gain legal entry into the United States.
"That would be news to me," Kinzer said. "I hope that's true."
Belisario then put on a pair of Bad Idea Jeans:
He said he hasn't called the Dodgers because he will resolve the situation on his own.
Pick up the phone, Ronald. C'mon.