Ronald Belisario gave his first interview of spring training on Wednesday and even though he was nearly as elusive in person as he was while away all of last year, the relief pitcher dropped a bombshell. Belisario said he tested positive for cocaine, though he couldn't exactly remember when the test was administered.
The cocaine test is the reason Belisario was suspended by MLB for 25 games to start this season.
Asked if the positive cocaine test was the reason he couldn't get a visa in 2011, Belisario said he didn't know, a familiar response throughout the interview. The one thing Belisario was clear about was that he only used cocaine one time, and that he doesn't have a problem with any drugs.
Belisario said he did not undergo any treatment for his cocaine use, nor was cocaine use the reason for his treatment program in July 2010 that caused him to miss a month. In fact, Belisario wouldn't reveal exactly what that treatment program was for, only that it wasn't cocaine.
"That is in the past. I don't want to talk about it" Belisario said. "All of this is completely behind me."
The reliever arrived in the United States this year on January 23, the first time in four years he has showed up to spring training on time. Belisario played winter ball in Venezuela, but during the 2011 season he said he didn't follow the Dodgers much. During the summer of 2011 Belisario pitched semi-pro baseball in Venezuela, though when asked why he didn't pitch in the Venezuelan summer league the pitcher replied, "Because nobody told me about it."
Now back with the Dodgers, the mercurial Belisario is ready to move forward. "I'm so excited to be here. I was waiting for this moment when I was home," he said. The first game Belisario is able to pitch for the Dodgers during the regular season is May 4.
"It's not like he's a bad guy, or you don't like him," manager Don Mattingly said of Belisario on Tuesday. "But to this point he's been tough to count on."
Belisario said he switched agents in November, dumping Paul Kinzer for Rick Oliver, because of a lack of communication. But after just 10 minutes with the reliever, I would bet the communication problems between Belisario and his agent weren't all one-sided.