It has been reported that long lost Dodger reliever Ronald Belisario is trying to obtain his Visa so that he can be allowed into the U.S. and compete for a spot in the Dodger bullpen for 2012.
Last season Belisario was M.I.A., and rumors were that he had Visa troubles or perhaps drug abuse or legal problems preventing his return to the United States. Belisario has had a history of personal issues including a DUI in 2009 and subsequently a drug rehab stint in 2010. He had a disappointing year finishing with a 5.04 ERA in 59 relief appearances. It was sad to watch. We even witnessed him almost crying in the dugout after a bad outing.
The last game Belisario played in was back on October 1, 2010. He’s had many Visa problems stemming back to Spring Training 2009 after the Dodgers signed him to a minor league contract. He was late to Spring Training, but he eventually showed up. In 2010 Belisario was late to Spring Training again and landed on the restricted list twice during the season. In 2011 Belisario was placed on the restricted list indefinitely after not showing up for Spring Training yet again for undisclosed reasons.
I’m not opposed to Belisario earning a spot in the bullpen. He has been pitching in his home country of Venezuela in their Winter League, and he has a 3.50 ERA with 4 saves in 18 appearances with 18 strikeouts, 12 walks, and a .208 opponents batting average. If he can overcome his personal demons and Visa issues, maybe he can return to his 2009 form. He was very good in 2009. He had a 2.04 ERA in 69 appearances, a record of 4-3 with 64 strikeouts and 29 walks. The 28-year old righty probably can still pitch, and with the uncertain return of Dougie and the youth of the other relievers, there is definitely a spot for him if he can earn it.
Stay tuned for updates on this story.