The Dodgers made a somewhat surprising move today as they activated Ronald Belisario from the suspended list and designated Mike MacDougal for assignment. Ronald Belisario just completed a 25-game suspension after testing positive for cocaine. He missed the entire 2011 season when he was unable to obtain a work visa to leave his native Venezuela due to reportedly having issues with drugs. The Dodgers had a tough decision to make today, because Belly is out of options. He either had to be activated and placed on the 25-man roster or put through waivers before going to the minors. He would have probably been picked up by another team if placed on waivers.
The Dodgers are taking a chance with the sinker ball pitching Belisario. His past drug addiction problems and unreliability would most likely make this his last chance at staying with the Dodgers. In 2009, Belisario had a breakout year. He finished with a record of 4-3 and a 2.04 ERA with 64 strikeouts in just over 70 innings of work. The Dodgers had already designated Ramon Troncoso for assignment back in March to make room for Belisario. Troncoso cleared waivers and landed back with the Isotopes. Strangely, Troncoso and Belisario have had intertwined careers. Troncoso would not be the only Dodger pitcher booted from the roster by Belisario.
By keeping Belisario, the Dodgers also had to make room on the roster by designating Mike MacDougal for assignment. Dougie grabbed a spot on the team last season after being invited as a non-roster player to Spring Training. The Dodgers were happy with the results he produced. Last season, MacDougal made 69 appearances for the Dodgers, and posted a 2.05 ERA. Opposing hitters had a mere .157 batting average off of him when there was runners in scoring position. He whiffed 41 batters in 57 innings pitched. Although ERA doesn’t tell the whole story, I can attest that Dougie was effective last season. The Dodgers signed him this past offseason to a 1-year $1 million dollar deal which includes a 2013 option. Disappointingly, MacDougal has been pitching poorly this season. He has only pitched 5 2/3 innings for the Dodgers this season, and he has allowed 6 walks in the seven relief appearances. His 7.94 ERA is due to the 5 earned runs on 9 hits he allowed. Dougie usually pitches hard. Due to weight loss from a bout with the flu, his velocity has been down. If Mike clears waivers, it’s possible he could land in Albuquerque. Sadly, it’s possible this is
the last we’ll see of Dougie as a Dodger.
With our bullpen woes, this move was a necessary risk. If healthy physically and mentally, Belisario could be a big help with the middle relief and set-up duties. Belly arrived early this past Spring ready to fight his way back on to the team. There was never a question about whether Belisario could pitch. Now it’s his moment to prove to everyone that his personal demons have been tamed. Comeback he has, but will he stay?