Ronald Belisario will not play for his Winter League team in Venezuela because… (Hunter Martin / Getty Images )
Reliever Ronald Belisario, on his best behavior with the Dodgers last season, has not fared as well back home in Venezuela this off-season.
His Winter League team in Margarita said Belisario would not play for the rest of the season because of disciplinary reasons.
Like most developments involving the hard-throwing right-hander, explanations did not appear simple and clear.
On Tuesday, the Ultimas Noticias newspaper said Belisario had asked for and been granted permission to leave the team for personal reasons, but when he did not return as scheduled, was removed from the roster.
Hensley Meulens, the former Yankee who is managing Margarita, said he had granted Belisario permission to leave the team for a week.
Belisario maintains he did return as scheduled, but when he arrived was told by the team general manager-president he was off the team. Belisario and the GM had apparently had been having differences.
Belisario, 29, has had several off-the-field issues during his four years with the Dodgers. He was late to spring training in consecutive years because of visa problems, and then was unable to get one at all prior to the 2011 spring after testing positive for cocaine. He missed the entire season.
But last spring he arrived on schedule and rewarded the team’s patience with a strong season, going 8-1 with a 2.54 ERA in 68 games.
Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti said he was not concerned Belisaro’s latest issue would cause him to miss camp.
“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.”
Colletti said Belisario would only miss Margarita’s final eight games.
Belisario latest agent, Dan Lozano, did not return a phone call. Belisario is arbitration-eligible this off-season and is being counted on as a set-up role.
Dodgers trade former wunderkind John Ely to Astros
Daily Dodger in Review: The two halves of Chris Capuano
Dodgers interested in 'strategic partner' for Mexico, South Korea