Ronald Belisario is already at Dodgers camp, but drug suspension looms

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Ronald Belisario missed all of last season because he couldn’t secure a visa, but this year the Venezuelan reliever has already reported to Dodgers camp in Arizona in the hopes of reclaiming a bullpen job.

Of course, since nothing ever seems to come easy with Belisario he’d first have to serve a 25-game suspension for violating MLB’s drug policy, which means he won’t be on the Opening Day roster regardless of how good he looks in spring training.

Belisario had a fantastic rookie season in 2009, throwing 71 innings with a 2.04 ERA and 64/29 K/BB ratio, but posted a 5.04 ERA in 55 innings as a sophomore and missed a big chunk of the season while undergoing treatment for an undisclosed drug problem. At this point the Dodgers should probably view any contributions from Belisario as a bonus and work from there.

Colin Poche, Rays go to arbitration just $125,000 apart

Colin Poche torn UCL
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Reliever Colin Poche went to salary arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday with the sides just $125,000 apart.

The gap between the $1.3 million the pitcher asked for and the $1,175,000 the team offered was the smallest among the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration figures last month. The case was heard by John Woods, Jeanne Vonhof and Walt De Treux, who will hold their decision until later this month.

A 29-year-old left-hander, Poche had Tommy John surgery on July 29, 2020, and returned to the major leagues last April 22 after six appearances at Triple-A Durham. Poche was 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA and seven saves in 65 relief appearances for the Rays. He struck out 64 and walked 22 in 58 2/3 innings.

Poche had a $707,800 salary last year.

Tampa Bay went to arbitration on Monday with reliever Ryan Thompson, whose decision also is being held until later this month. He asked for $1.2 million and the Rays argued for $1 million.

Rays right-hander Jason Adam and outfielder Harold Ramirez remain scheduled for hearings.

Players and teams have split four decisions thus far. All-Star pitcher Max Fried ($13.5 million) lost to Atlanta and reliever Diego Castillo ($2.95 million) was defeated by Seattle, while pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Marlins.

A decision also is pending for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

Eighteen additional players are eligible for arbitration and hearings are scheduled through Feb. 17. Among the eligible players is Seattle utilityman Dylan Moore, who has a pending three-year contract worth $8,875,000.