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Dodgers reliever Ronald Belisario headed to disabled list

The workhorse right-hander returns to Los Angeles for an MRI test on his elbow, and club plans to put him on the DL Wednesday.

July 08, 2009|Dylan Hernandez

NEW YORK — Fears that Dodgers management had about how the bullpen was being used were realized Tuesday when workhorse reliever Ronald Belisario returned to Los Angeles to get an MRI exam on his right elbow.

The Dodgers made plans to put Belisario on the 15-day disabled list today and replace him with Cory Wade, who will be recalled from triple-A Albuquerque.

The unexpected contributions of Belisario and Ramon Troncoso out of the bullpen have often been cited by Manager Joe Torre as one of the main reasons the Dodgers have the best record in baseball.

"We lost a chunk of that," Torre said of Belisario, who has an earned-run average of 2.42.

Signed as a free agent this winter, Belisario had not pitched in the big leagues before this year. He leads the Dodgers with 43 appearances and is second on the team with 48 1/3 innings pitched.

The workload represents a significant increase for Belisario, 26, who missed the 2005 and 2006 seasons recovering from elbow surgery. Pitching in the minor leagues, Belisario logged 59 innings in 2007 and 57 last year.

He was used in every game of the Dodgers' three-game series against Oakland from June 16-18 and pitched a total of 3 2/3 innings.

Belisario was arrested June 27 in Pasadena on suspicion of driving under the influence, a case that is still pending. He took a scoreless streak of 13 2/3 innings into San Diego last week. He was pounded for three runs Saturday and walked one of the two batters he faced Sunday.

Torre said Belisario told him Tuesday that he experienced tightness warming up for both weekend games but that he felt fine once he ran out of the bullpen.

Asked whether the stiffness in the elbow could be linked to the poor results, Torre said, "I'm guessing it could've been."

Wade, who is expected to be in New York today, was last year's Belisario.

Wade had never pitched more than 39 innings in a season until he threw 62 innings last year, including 55 in the majors. He spent three weeks on the disabled list because of shoulder problems last year and his inability to regain his top form this year earned him a demotion to triple A on June 26.

With Belisario out, Torre said that James McDonald was a candidate to be the Dodgers' seventh-inning man.

Campaigning for Kemp

Matt Kemp ranks fourth among the five candidates in the Final Vote competition to determine the final selection to the NL All-Star team. Ballots can be cast at until Thursday at 1 p.m.

The Dodgers have started campaigning on Kemp's behalf, sending e-mails to fans and posting two stories about the center fielder on their website Tuesday.

The club also started a Facebook group dedicated to the cause and is attempting to spread the word through the Twitter accounts of NBA players Trevor Ariza and Sheldon Williams.

Weaver to start on Saturday

With Eric Milton on the disabled list, long reliever Jeff Weaver will start Saturday in Milwaukee.

It will be the fifth start of the season for Weaver, who is 5-2 with a 3.32 earned-run average.

The last time the 32-year-old right-hander pitched this well was in his first go-round with the Dodgers in 2004 and 2005. Weaver said he is a calmer pitcher today than he was then.

"The results were good when I played [for the Dodgers] last time but I'm at a better place now than I was then," he said. "I don't know if it's getting to that 30-and-above point. I definitely feel that no matter the situation, I get all my energy headed in the right direction. I don't feel flooded by outside emotions."


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