It shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody in Dodgertown that oft-troubled relief pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers is once again in the hot seat. This time it is for the Venezuela Bravos de Margarita.
Belisario, 29, has had several issues with the Dodgers in the four years he has spent in Los Angeles. In 2009 he had trouble getting a visa from the United States Embassy in Caracas, causing him to report to camp late. During the season, Bellisario was arrested in Pasadena for driving under the influence of alcohol. This DUI was the reason he had trouble obtaining a visa once again the following season causing him to show up to spring training late once again. Also in 2010, he missed a month during the regular season. he has never publicly explained this absence. When it came time to obtain a visa for the 2011 season, he was unable to do so because he had tested positive for cocaine. This positive test also resulted in a 25-game suspension for violating the Major League Baseball drug policy.
Other than that suspension. his 2012 season was incident-free, leading some to speculate that he may have finally turned a corner in the right direction. He arrive to Camelback Ranch last season on time and had a very solid season for the Dodgers. He pitched in 68 games and had an Earned Run Average of 2.54 with a record of 8-1.
However, these recent developments in Caracas have called that into question.
The Bravos de Margarita have said that Bellisario will not play again for the rest of the season because of disciplinary reasons. But, like most situations involving the right-handed reliever, the story doesn’t seem to be very clear cut.
The local newspaper Ultimas Noticias reported that Bellisario had asked for a one-week leave for personal reasons and that when he failed to return on time, the team disciplined him.
Team manager and former New York Yankee Hensley Neulens did confirm that he had given permission to Bellisario to take his leave, but has not confirmed or denied if he returned on time.
Adding more drama to the situation is that the general manager for the team and Bellisario have butted heads and have had issues this winter. Bellisario claims he returned on time, but when he showed up the GM told him he was no longer on the team.
Bellisario, who is arbitration-eligible this season and will likely receive a raise from the $480,000 he made in 2012, is still expected to make it to spring training on time. The Dodgers are counting on him in 2013 to have another solid year of relief and is a potential set-up man.
Are the dodgers showing any concern?
“Not at this point,” Colletti said. “We have a lot invested in him and we’re certainly counting on him, and he recognizes what he has at stake too.”