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.
Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw is nearing his return to the mound, according to club manager Dave Roberts. Both Kershaw (left biceps tendinitis) and fellow lefty Rich Hill (left middle finger blister) are scheduled to toss simulated games on Saturday; depending on the outcome, Roberts says Kershaw could forgo a minor league assignment and slot back into the rotation by Thursday.
Kershaw, 30, was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis as the team closed out their Mexico Series at the start of the month. He has not made a start in several weeks, but was finally able to resume throwing on Sunday and managed to get through two successful bullpen sessions. Though Dodgers’ ace hasn’t been completely injury-free over his 11-year career in the majors, this is the first significant issue he’s had with his pitching arm so far. The team is expected to take every precaution with the lefty, and will likely limit him to just four innings during Saturday’s simulated game.
Prior to his injury, Kershaw was working on another dominant run with the club, sporting a 2.86 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 9.8 SO/9 through his first 44 innings of the season. While Kershaw, Hill and left-handed starter Hyun-Jin Ryu served their respective terms on the disabled list this month, the Dodgers utilized a combination of relievers Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart, both of whom impressed during their limited time in the rotation.