Thursday, July 8, 2010
Belisario still missing from Dodgers
By Tony Jackson
LOS ANGELES -- Day 2 of the Ronald Belisario saga yielded no new information on the whereabouts of the Los Angeles Dodgers reliever or the reason for his sudden absence, either to the media or to manager Joe Torre.
"I know nothing other than what I said [Wednesday]," Torre said before Thursday night's game with the Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium. "If somebody feels I need to know, then I need to know. But as long as they don't feel I need to know, that's fine with me."
The Dodgers placed Belisario on the restricted list Wednesday, citing "personal issues," and have been extremely tight-lipped beyond that. Paul Kinzer, Belisario's Atlanta-based agent, said earlier this week that his client was dealing with "a lot of anxiety" but wouldn't provide any details beyond that, and it wasn't at all clear whether Kinzer meant that Belisario was feeling anxiety from whatever issue he was dealing with or if the anxiety itself was the issue.
A player taking time away to deal with anxiety isn't unprecedented. Both Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto and then-St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Khalil Greene did so last year. But again, Kinzer's reluctance to elaborate on his use of the word "anxiety" means it isn't at all clear that anxiety is Belisario's issue.
Kinzer didn't immediately return a message left on his cell phone Thursday.
Meanwhile, Torre stopped short of saying club officials were becoming frustrated with Belisario, who is now into his second unexpected absence this year after he was five weeks late arriving to spring training because of difficulty obtaining a visa to enter the U.S. from his native Venezuela. That resulted in Belisario, a reliable and important member of the Dodgers bullpen, spending the first two weeks of the season on the restricted list.
"I can't say frustration just because I don't know what this is about other than it's personal," Torre said. "It could be a variety of things. I think we all have personal things we have to deal with, so I can't really use the word frustration."
Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti largely echoed Torre on that subject.
"When something personal comes up in somebody's life, whether you're frustrated or not, when it's a personal situation, you have to move on and make do," Colletti said. "You can't do anything about it. You can't change it."
Ramirez to rehab
Dodgers left fielder Manny Ramirez, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a right-hamstring strain and is eligible to return in time for the second-half opener next Thursday night at St. Louis, will begin his minor league rehabilitation assignment on Saturday for high Single-A Inland Empire against Lancaster. He is scheduled to play for the 66ers through Monday, giving him three games' worth of at-bats.
Ramirez could have gone to Triple-A Albuquerque, where he would have hit against something more closely resembling major league pitching, but Dodgers trainer Stan Conte said Inland Empire was chosen because the Isotopes are playing in Omaha this weekend and because of scheduling flexibility. With the Pacific Coast League All-Star break beginning on Monday, Ramirez would have been limited to two games with Albuquerque.
The California League's All-Star break was last month.
"This way, he can get an extra day and start a little bit later," Conte said. "And then, he can still get two days off before St. Louis."
Another player in the Dodgers organization who took time off for "personal reasons" has resurfaced. Left-hander Scott Elbert, who had a 4.98 ERA in nine starts for Albuquerque when he left the team a month ago, is at the Dodgers' spring-training facility in Glendale, Ariz., where he has begun playing catch as the first step in an incremental program that eventually will get him back to competition.
"As far as I know, he's just taking it one day at a time," said Dodgers bullpen coach Ken Howell, who has been in regular contact with Elbert. "Chavvy [Dodgers minor league pitching coordinator Rafael Chaves] has him coming to the ballpark and getting back into the swing of things. He is just going to work his way through it, and that's where we are now."
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.