Ronald Belisario, the source of much consternation with his absence this spring, has arrived in Arizona today, a mere 35 days after pitchers and catchers were scheduled to report, according to Dodger general manager Ned Colletti. The Dodgers announced he is expected to practice at Camelback Ranch tomorrow. Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times also tweeted that Belisario was placed on the restricted list yesterday, which means he will be suspended without pay to start the season. His placement on the restricted list also opens up a spot on the 40-man roster, which now has 38 players.
Belisario has had visa issues in his native Venezuela, preventing him from entering the U.S., with the problems coming from his DUI arrest last summer in Pasadena. There have been reports that Belisario missed appointments with the U.S. Embassy in Venezuela, and that he also skipped out on his Venezuelan Winter League team without warning. Now that Belisario is actually going to be in camp, perhaps some of these questions can be answered.
"I don't have any thoughts on Belisario. We have important things to do here," said manager Joe Torre, delivering the cold reality of the situation,"it's unfortunate. Its a missed opportunity at this point. It doesn't mean we won't see him at some point."
"He couldn't get his paperwork in on time, and missed appointments," said general manager Ned Colletti, "You're disappointed that it takes him almost until you are ready to pack up to show up." Colletti added that the club has no idea what kind of shape Belisario is in, and that he will have 30 days to try to make the big league roster, adding "If it doesn't work, we'll outright him or figure out what's next."
More importantly, Belisario is here now. He won't start the season with the team, but he will have plenty of time to make an impact from the bullpen this year. If he can pitch anything like he did last season, the Dodgers will be better. Time to put all this behind us and play some baseball.