I'll say this for Ronald Belisario: at least he showed up this season. The relief pitcher finally secured a work visa after sitting out all of last season in Venezuela unable to get a work visa.
In 2009, the year Belisario emerged from obscurity on a minor league deal to put up a 2.04 ERA in 71 innings for the Dodgers, he showed up to camp late with visa issues.
In 2010, after getting arrested for DUI in Pasadena the year before, Belisario had trouble getting a visa and showed up to camp five weeks late. Then, he struck out two fewer hitters per nine innings and also missed a month of the season while on the restricted list and reportedly underwent substance abuse treatment.
Belisario said the substance abuse treatment in 2010 was unrelated to his positive test for cocaine, a drug the reliever claims he tried only one time. The positive test for cocaine presumably came in Venezuela and was related to his inability to get a work visa in 2011, as MLB does not test for cocaine. However, with his positive test Belisario was suspended for 25 games for violating MLB's Joint Drug Prevention Program, and the earliest game he can play is May 4 against the Chicago Cubs.
Belisario is also out of options, meaning the Dodgers have a decision to make at the beginning of May, whether to add him to the roster or risk losing him. But he has lost all benefit of the doubt.
"It's not like he's a bad guy, or you don't like him," manager Don Mattingly said of Belisario. "But to this point he's been tough to count on."
Belisario will have to prove he is worthy of a roster spot on the field, which is certainly possible for someone who throws 94 MPH with crazy movement. The only question is whether the Dodgers get the old Belisario, who didn't play in the Venezuelan summer league last year because his agent didn't tell him about it, or a new focused Belisario.
To Belisario's credit, he did show up to camp nearly a month early this year, and is talking the talk of someone ready to move forward. "I'm so excited to be here. I was waiting for this moment when I was home," he said.
Belisario's 69 games pitched in 2009 are the fourth most ever by a Dodgers rookie, behind Yhency Brazoban (74 games, 2005), Ramon Troncoso (73, 2009), and Takashi Saito (72, 2006).
Belisario has one year, 151 days of service time and is out of options.
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|2012 Projections - Age 29 Season|
I think Belisario gets one more chance, pitches 20 innings and puts up a 4.95 ERA and 14 strikeouts.
What is your prediction? Be sure to guess Belisario's ERA, number of innings pitched, plus anything else you would like to predict.