UPDATE: Belisario spoke with ESPN Los Angeles on Sunday and explained his absence from camp:
“I never missed an appointment,” he said. “They gave me appointments to
go to after they said they were denying my visa. They told me to take
exams and things, and I kept going twice a week. They just said they
were denying my visa because of the DUI.”
12:03pm: Tony Jackson of ESPN Los Angeles passes along word that right-hander reliever Donald Belisario finally showed up to Dodgers camp Saturday after a three-week battle with visa issues in Venezuela.
He secured the visa this week and is expected to begin participating in full-squad drills on Sunday. Dodgers manager Joe Torre said last week that Belisario won’t be a member of the club’s Opening Day bullpen mix, no matter how ready he is. Why? Because the right-hander missed three scheduled appointments at the U.S. Embassy in Caracas this month that would have expedited the process of getting him to Camelback Ranch. Managers tend to shy away players who display a lack of motivation.
Nonetheless, it’s good to hear that Belisario is finally in camp and will be helping the Dodgers at some point this season. He had a 2.04 ERA in 70 2/3 innings last year.
Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.
Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.
Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.
The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.
Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.
Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.