Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Belisario to RL; Monasterios activated
By Tony Jackson
LOS ANGELES -- The agent for Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Ronald Belisario used the word "anxiety" when asked on Wednesday why the right-hander had suddenly, inexplicably been placed on the restricted list by the team for the second time this year, a move the Dodgers announced as being for personal reasons.
Paul Kinzer, Belisario's Atlanta-based agent, wouldn't elaborate beyond that.
"It's just some personal problems, and he's got some things he's got to work through," Kinzer said. "It's just a lot of anxiety, and that is about all I want to say right now."
Pressed on what he meant by the word "anxiety," Kinzer declined to offer details.
Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said he couldn't comment on the matter beyond the information the team provided to the media in its daily pregame notes package.
"It's a personal issue, and that is all we can say," Colletti said.
Belisario's roster spot was taken by rookie reliever Carlos Monasterios, who was activated from the 15-day disabled list.
Dodgers manager Joe Torre said he was completely unaware of what Belisario's issues are and that he hadn't discussed the matter with the pitcher. Torre said Colletti had made him aware after Tuesday night's game, a 7-3 victory over the Florida Marlins in which Belisario warmed up in the bullpen during the eighth inning but never was brought in to pitch, that there might be an issue with Belisario that would affect the pitcher's availability. But Torre said he had no information beyond that.
"That's all I know," Torre said. "I haven't been told anything other than what was written. ... Let's put it this way, I was surprised by this."
Players placed on the restricted list are removed from a team's 40-man roster, but they can be kept there for a maximum of 30 days. Kinzer said it was too early to tell whether Belisario's absense would be short term or long term.
"We aren't sure at this point," he said. "We'll just have to see how things go."
Kinzer also said that Belisario was still in Los Angeles, but indicated the pitcher might be heading home to Venezuela at some point.
"Right now, he is [still in town], but we will have to see how things work out later," Kinzer said. "Obviously, his family is in Venezuela. But we haven't set up [any travel]."
This is the latest chapter in Belisario's spotty season and a half with the Dodgers, a period during which he has been mostly effective on the mound -- he has a 2.62 ERA in 104 appearances since the start of last season -- but has been late to spring training each year and was arrested on suspicion of DUI in Pasadena a little more than a year ago.
That misdemeanor drunken-driving charge was plea-bargained down in March to reckless driving. Belisario paid a $1,000 fine, and the matter was officially resolved. But with the charge still outstanding, Belisario ran into a lengthy visa snafu trying to get back into the U.S. from Venezuela for the start of spring training this year and wound up not arriving until March 27, a point when there was a week left in camp.
At that point, Belisario didn't have enough time to get his arm in shape for the season, so the Dodgers placed him on the restricted list and assigned him to work out on the minor-league side for the rest of spring training and to remain in extended spring training when the regular-season began.
Belisario was activated on April 21 and apparently had been a model citizen from that point on.
"He hasn't been an issue," Torre said. "No disciplinary stuff has gone on. He has been here for us every day."
Belisario had pitched extremely well of late, not allowing a run of his own or an inherited runner to score in any of his past five appearances spanning 7 1/3 innings. That culminated in Belisario's longest outing of the season in Monday night's loss to the Marlins, when he pitched three scoreless innings on an economical 26 pitches to help save the rest of the bullpen on an evening when starter John Ely had lasted just 2 2/3.
Since June 1, Belisario had allowed three runs in 18 2/3 innings spanning 17 appearances.
Belisario, 27, was a journeyman minor leaguer when the Dodgers originally signed him in January 2009. At that point, he had never pitched above Double-A in six professional seasons, had missed two full seasons while recovering from Tommy John surgery and had been released by both the Marlins and Pittsburgh Pirates organizations.
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com