The sad tale of Ronald Belisario continues. Today was the day for pitchers and catchers to report to Dodgers camp at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona, but for the third year in a row Belisario failed to report on time. In each of the previous two years, it was because of visa issues in Venezuela, including Belisario showing up a whopping 35 days late last season. This year, it seems a lot more serious than that.
Because of Belisario's lateness to camp last season, the Dodgers placed him on the restricted list to start the season. Belisario later spend more time on the restricted list in July and August for what the team called "personal reasons." Those personal reasons have been reported as drug rehab by both the Los Angeles Times and MLB.com (twice), though neither the team nor Belisario's agent Paul Kinzer have never confirmed those reports.
This year's visa problems seem more serious, as Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times caught up with Kinzer:
Kinzer would not specify why Belisario was still in his native Venezuela. But asked if Belisario was having trouble securing a visa, Kinzer replied, "It goes a little deeper than that."
Kinzer said he didn’t think Belisario would be able to enter the United States at any time this year.
Belisario was a pleasant surprise in 2009, as the non-roster invitee won a spot in the bullpen in spring training, then rose his mid-90s fastball with movement to a 2.04 ERA as a rookie. Belisario struggled at times last season, with a 5.04 ERA and a declining strikeout rate, but was expected to be a key part of a very deep pitching staff for the Dodgers this season. Tony Jackson of ESPN Los Angeles has more reaction from Kinzer:
"Ned and the Dodgers have done all they can do, and I have done all I can do," Kinzer said. "[Belisario] needs to get some things straighened out himself. It's all kind of in his corner right now."
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