Ronald Belisario, shown during spring training, missed last season because… (Jae C. Hong / Associated…)
CHICAGO — Reliever Ronald Belisario said he did not have butterflies when he took the mound Saturday at Wrigley Field for his first big league appearance since Oct. 1, 2010.
"I was thinking about coming in, throwing strikes and letting them hit the ball," said Belisario, who retired the side in the eighth inning in the Dodgers' 5-1 win over the Chicago Cubs.
The Venezuelan missed last season because he was denied entry into the United States after testing positive for cocaine, and he had to serve a 25-game suspension at the start of this season in accordance with baseball's drug policy.
In the eighth inning, the hard-throwing right-hander retired former Dodger Blake DeWitt and David DeJesus on ground balls, then struck out Joe Mather.
"Now I'm looking forward; it's like beginning a new start," said Belisario, 29.
Manager Don Mattingly said, "Beli was good; it was lights out. His stuff has never really been in question. If he's throwing like that, it's a big bonus for us."
Lilly gets tossed
Bobby Abreu was batting with runners at first and third in the fifth inning when suddenly home-plate umpire Tim Timmons looked into the Dodgers dugout and ejected pitcher Ted Lilly.
Lilly wasn't even playing Saturday, but his complaints about Timmons' calls of balls and strikes got him tossed.
After one pitch to Abreu, "I said [to Timmons], 'The ball's low,'" Lilly said. "Then [Timmons] looked over at me and asked me to be quiet with a hand gesture," which Lilly repeated for reporters by pressing a finger against his lips.
"So I was quiet," Lilly continued, except Lilly then used a hand gesture of his own to signal to Timmons that he still thought the pitch was low.
"And he kicked me out," Lilly said. "I couldn't believe you get thrown out of the game for something like that."
Loney versus lefties
With James Loney continuing to struggle against left-handed pitching, the question again arose whether Mattingly was prepared to platoon the first baseman.
"I don't really want to, but the numbers are telling me I should," Mattingly said. Loney overall was batting .212 after Saturday's game, .136 against left-handers.
"I think James can hit lefties," Mattingly said. "But again, like I said before, me thinking he could do it and then doing it are two different things. At this point, James is not really doing it.
"I don't want to really call it a straight platoon because it's not like when every lefty comes up [in the rotation], I'm like, 'James is out of there.' It's kind of like [it depends on] the matchups or whatever, and honestly his matchups are not very good against lefties."
Mattingly also said that despite Jerry Hairston Jr.'s strong play lately, both at bat and with the glove, he won't be playing Hairston every day "because I think I'm going to wear him out if I do that."