Dodgers reliever Ronald Belisario in danger of missing season due to visa issues

1 Comment

Ronald Belisario’s agent, Paul Kinzer, said yesterday that the Dodgers reliever is in danger of missing the entire season, telling Tony Jackson of ESPNLA.com that “he just has a lot of things he needs to get straightened out.”

Belisario’s arrival at Dodgers camp has been delayed by visa issues for the third year in a row. Last year he didn’t show up until a week or so before Opening Day and spent the first three weeks of the season on the restricted list, later leaving the team for a month due to undisclosed personal reasons.

Kinzer indicated that this year’s visa problems in Venezuela stem from whatever caused Belisario to leave the team last year, explaining that he’s “just not very optimistic” about the right-hander pitching for the Dodgers in 2011. Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti is anything but surprised by Belisario’s situation:

When the season ended, I knew we could be walking this path again. I had no misconceptions that this was going to be an easy bridge to cross. Knowing what we went through a year ago, including in-season, I can’t say we built our bullpen with him in it. If he gets back and is in shape and can help our big league club win, we’ll examine it. As of right now, we’re not thinking about it. We will go forward as we are.

Belisario struggled in between all the off-field issues last season, posting a 5.04 ERA in 55 innings after thriving as a rookie with a 2.04 ERA in 71 innings. However, he pitched well in the Venezuelan winter league with 14 saves and a 1.00 ERA. Rather than dropping Belisario altogether the Dodgers can simply place him back on the restricted list, which allows them to retain his rights without committing a 40-man roster spot.

Phillies walk off winners thanks to a poor decision by Marcell Ozuna

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
4 Comments

The Phillies’ bullpen, which has not been good as of late, gift-wrapped Monday’s game for the Cardinals. Starter Nick Pivetta was brilliant, fanning 13 while allowing two runs in 7 1/3 innings. But things unraveled after he left the game. Victor Arano took over for Edubray Ramos to start the ninth inning with the Phillies leading 4-2, but he allowed a one-out single and a double. After striking out Harrison Bader, Arano appeared to strike out Yairo Munoz for the final out of the game, but the ball trickled through the legs of catcher Andrew Knapp, allowing a run to score and the tying run to move to third base. Lefty Adam Morgan came in to face pinch-hitter Kolten Wong. Wong tied the game up, sneaking a single into center field.

In the 10th inning, Jake Thompson gave up the go-ahead run on a leadoff home run to Tommy Pham. It seemed like it was just going to be another one of those losses that have become increasingly common for the Phillies lately. But the Phillies’ offense didn’t go down quietly, even though it hadn’t put a runner on second base since the start of the second inning when J.P. Crawford doubled. In the bottom half of the 10th, Hoskins blooped a single into shallow left-center to start the inning. Hoskins moved to second base on a ground out from Odubel Herrera. Matt Bowman intentionally walked Carlos Santana, then struck out Jesmuel Valentin. That brought up Aaron Altherr, who replaced Nick Williams after Williams took a baseball to the face off of the right field fence. Bowman fell behind 2-1, then threw a 90 MPH fastball that Altherr lined into left field. Rather than keep the ball in front of him, Marcell Ozuna decided to dive for the ball to make the final out, but he missed. The ball trickled past him, allowing the tying and the game-winning runs to score, giving the Phillies a come-from-behind win.

On the list of people happy to see Ozuna miss that ball are Altherr (of course), Arano, Morgan, and Thompson. But perhaps no one was happier than manager Gape Kapler. The win might help take the heat off of him somewhat after another poor performance from the bullpen. When a team struggles, everyone wants a scapegoat and Kapler is an easy target. He has been all year, undeservingly.

Phillies radio broadcaster and former major league reliever Larry Anderson said after the bullpen meltown, “Not everybody can pitch in the ninth inning. And I know Gabe Kapler thinks they can, but they can’t.” Aside from Ramos and Seranthony Dominguez (who was unavailable after throwing 52 pitches between Saturday and Sunday in Milwaukee), no one in that bullpen has been reliable. The closer, Hector Neris, just got optioned to Triple-A. You work with what you have, and right now, Kapler doesn’t have a whole lot. Thankfully for him, he wasn’t punished with another loss thanks to Ozuna.