Belisario reports, put on restricted list
Move gives Dodgers reliever 30 days to get in shape
PHOENIX -- Reliever Ronald Belisario finally resolved his visa issues and arrived at the Dodgers' Camelback Ranch-Glendale complex Saturday from his native Venezuela.
As a pre-emptive move, club officials revealed that on Friday they placed Belisario on the Major League restricted list for failure to report to Spring Training, effectively buying a 30-day window for Belisario to get in shape and be activated.
Vice president Kim Ng said Belisario will not count against the Dodgers' 40-man Major League roster for a maximum of 30 days and won't be paid either until he's activated. Because Belisario is out of options, he cannot be sent to the Minor Leagues without clearing waivers. He will remain behind in Arizona when the club breaks camp Wednesday.
Dodgers officials are clearly annoyed that Belisario had visa issues both years he's been in the organization. General manager Ned Colletti said Belisario, who was 34 days late, would be activated whenever he can pitch on the big league level, while manager Joe Torre said the right-hander won't be on the Opening Day roster regardless.
"We're not going to do it at the start of the season," Torre said. "Last year, at least we knew where he was [pitching on the Minor League side after arriving two weeks late]. This is pushing the envelope too far. We haven't seen what he's done."
Complicating Belisario's status this year was a driving under the influence charge filed against him last summer. He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.
But Colletti said Belisario's track record is cause for concern.
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"It certainly makes you wonder," Colletti said. "You have to be responsible. He hasn't shown a degree of responsibility. He could get the paperwork in on time. He missed appointments. Delayed, delayed. I'm disappointed that it's almost until we're packed up to leave that he shows up. You can't control what other people do. There are no promises, no guarantees."
Belisario signed as a Minor League free agent two winters back off the recommendation of scout Ron Rizzi -- who saw Belisario's nasty sinker on display in the Venezuelan Winter League -- but the right-hander showed up for Spring Training two weeks late because of those visa issues.
He made a one-inning appearance in a spring game and was immediately re-assigned to Minor League camp, where he pitched so impressively that assistant general manager De Jon Watson suggested the Major League staff take another look.
He reappeared in a Major League game the final week of the exhibition season and proved Watson correct, making the Opening Day roster. He went on to be the Dodgers' best rookie, finishing fifth among league relievers with a 2.04 ERA and holding opponents to a .157 batting average. He was one reason why the Dodgers had the best bullpen in the league last year.
Previously, Belisario had struggled through almost a decade of Minor League frustration. Originally signed in 2001 by Florida, he missed the 2005 and 2006 seasons with Tommy John surgery and resurfaced in the Pittsburgh organization. Prior to signing with the Dodgers, he had never pitched above Double-A.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.