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Ronald Belisario's visa problems may keep him from Dodgers the whole season

The hard-throwing reliever has had troubles in the past, but he fails to report and his agent indicates Belisario is unlikely to gain legal entry into the U.S. this year from his native Venezuela.

February 16, 2011|By Dylan Hernandez
  • Dodgers reliever Ronald Belasario reacts after giving up a two-run home run to Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki.
Dodgers reliever Ronald Belasario reacts after giving up a two-run home… (Harry How / Getty Images )

Reporting from Phoenix — Ronald Belisario failed to report to the Dodgers' Camelback Ranch spring training complex Wednesday — no surprise considering the hard-throwing reliever was a late arrival in each of the last two years.

But Belisario's latest round of visa problems appear to be far more serious than they have been in the past, and his agent said he would probably miss the entire 2011 season.

Agent Paul Kinzer wouldn't specify why Belisario was still in his native Venezuela but indicated he is unlikely to gain legal entry into the United States this year.

"Unless some things change drastically, I'm not very optimistic at this point," Kinzer said.

In addition to being late to camp last year, Belisario missed more than a month of the regular season to receive treatment in a substance-abuse program. He was also charged with driving under the influence in 2009 and pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.

Belisario went 55 1/3 innings in 59 appearances last season, posting a record of 3-1 with two saves and an earned-run average of 5.04. In 2009, he pitched 70 2/3 innings in 69 games and went 4-3 with a 2.04 ERA while limiting hitters to a .201 batting average.

General Manager Ned Colletti said that he went into the winter aware of Belisario's history and potential unavailability, and kept that in mind when assembling the team.

Colletti and Kinzer said the team and agent have done what they could to help Belisario acquire a visa.

"Responsibility rests with the individual," Colletti said.

If Belisario isn't in camp by Feb. 26, the Dodgers could place him on the restricted list, which would remove him from the 40-man roster. He could be kept on that list indefinitely and the Dodgers would retain his rights.

Short hops

Right-hander Lance Cormier was signed to a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training. Cormier, 30, was 4-3 with a 3.92 ERA in 60 relief appearances for Tampa Bay last season.

dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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