Ronald Belisario and his agent have vastly different views of his status for 2011

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Yesterday agent Paul Kinzer told Tony Jackson of ESPNLA.com that Dodgers reliever Ronald Belisario is unlikely to pitch this season because of visa problems in Venezuela.

However, today Belisario told a Venezuelan newspaper that he plans to report to spring training soon and his arrival has simply been delayed by a lost passport.

Here’s more from Belisario, via Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times:

I lost my passport and I have an appointment set for Friday. I passed the embassy’s medical examinations, and all I have to do is get the passport. Of course, I’ll go to spring training. As soon as I get the passport, I’ll go back to the embassy to get a visa.

Of course, when told of Belisario’s comments Kinzer replied: “That would be news to me.”

Kinzer also told Hernandez that Belisario “has gone kind of quiet” and “I haven’t heard from him in a few weeks.” All of which makes it seem sort of strange that the agent would have been so willing to speak about Belisario’s status and strongly state that the reliever was unlikely to pitch for the Dodgers this season. If they haven’t spoken for weeks, how would he know?

Also of note is that Hernandez says the reason Belisario left the Dodgers for a month last season (after reporting late to spring training thanks to via problems) was “to receive treatment in a substance-abuse program.” He returned to the team in August and proceeded to post a 7.32 ERA in 24 appearances down the stretch. So while Kinzer and Belisario being so far apart in their assessment of his status seems awfully strange, something tells me this whole thing isn’t just about a misplaced passport.

Brandon McCarthy wins final spot in Dodgers’ rotation

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We learned on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu won one of the final two spots in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Brandon McCarthy has won the other, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. Alex Wood was McCarthy’s competitor for the spot.

McCarthy, 33, posted a 4.85 ERA across four appearances spanning 13 innings this spring, yielding seven earned runs on 14 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Wood, a southpaw, gave up five earned runs in six innings against the Reds on Tuesday, which might have factored into the decision.

Last season, McCarthy made nine starts and one relief appearance, posting a 4.95 ERA with a 44/26 K/BB ratio in 40 innings. In the event McCarthy falters, the club has Wood as well as Julio Urias and the injured Scott Kazmir as potential replacements.

Yankees re-sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

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The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.

Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.

Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.