He's baaaaaack! That's right, Ronald Belisario has obtained his visa finally
and has been cleared to return to the United States. The visa is good for five years so at least this whole visa thing should be avoided for the next several years. Of course just because Belisario can return to the Dodgers doesn't mean it's going to be a cakewalk, as he has some work to do to get onto the Dodgers 2012 bullpen. There are many obstacles in Belisario's way before he can get out of the doghouse with the Dodgers. A new chapter for Belisario is about to begin, from here it's up to him where the story goes.
It was announced by the commissioners office that Belisario has been suspended for 25 games for violating the leagues Joint Drug Program. The what-when factor really don't matter, but this is probably related to a rehab order or something of that nature. You would think a suspension is a bad way to start of your new chapter, but not really. This is actually good news as it will give Belisario some more time to get MLB ready, and more importantly the Dodgers an extended look at Belisario. With him being out of options, Spring Training and the additional 25 games will give the Dodgers a really good idea on where he is at both mentally and physically before deciding on whether to give him a roster spot. So now the Dodgers essentially have until the end of April to decide whether to carry him, trade him, or chance it and place him on waivers hoping he will clear to send him down to the minors.
The last three years Belisario has been this challenging enigma on the Dodgers roster. Issues with his visa, drug abuse, and all sorts of personal issues that basically took almost an entire year for Belisario to sort out. To say that Belisario is an unreliable asset at this point would be an understatement, or maybe not. Really at this point we have no idea what shape he is in. 2009 was an awesome year for Belisario, and you can argue, despite being rather ineffective at times so was 2010. Of course 2011 was a complete utter mess for him and the Dodgers. I know that going into the 2011 season Mattingly was counting on Belisario as one the go-to guys out of the 'pen, his absence is really what started roller coaster that was the Dodgers 2011 bullpen.
Belisario has been playing in the Venezuelan leagues, but that hardly tells us if he is in MLB shape, or if all the demons that have plagued him the majority of his career are truly behind him. The reality is none of this matters until Belisario shows up to his camp, which according to his agent, Belisario will report to camp when the rest of the team does. Even when he does show up he's gonna have to fight for a spot in the bullpen. The Dodgers have five spots already locked up with Guerra, Jensen, Blakesworth, Elbert, and Guerrier. Figure they are gonna add another lefty in either Grabow or Ledezma, that really leaves one open spot. Colletti is still insisting that he is going to add another reliever, and the Mike MacDougal
rumors have been pretty consistent over the past several weeks. No matter what happens I think the next chapter for Belisario will be a good one. I'm quite confident the Dodgers 'pen will be better with him in it, either way this is some much needed good news, and it will be interesting to see what Belisario can do in 2012.