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The Dodgers' dilemma: searching for Ronnie Belliard

July 16, 2010 |  4:24 pm

Belliard_300 Send out an APB on Ronnie Belliard.

Somebody help find this guy. He’s 5 feet 9, rounded, battles a weight problem (and pictured at left).

Was last seen batting .351 with five homers and 17 RBI in 24 games with the Dodgers the last two months of the 2009 season.

Rumored to have been with the Dodgers again this year, but that just can’t be, since that Ronnie Belliard is hitless in his last 20 at-bats and batting just .220 on the season.

Really? Yep, it's true.

Ranking just below the mysterious reversal of left-handed reliever George Sherrill this season is that of Belliard. Maybe it is the pod theory.

Belliard has been awful. No longer stings the ball. Too often, just looks overmatched. Just ahead of useless.

The only possible explanation is regular playing time, which has been in somewhat short supply with Blake DeWitt the everyday second baseman -- at least against right-handers -- and the somewhat surprisingly strong play of utility infielder Jamey Carroll.

Still, Belliard has 109 at-bats (Carroll has 179 and is starting Friday against St. Louis), so it’s not like Joe Torre has completely forgotten him.

The right-handed hitter is batting only .174 against left-handers (Carroll is at .260). And right now he’s in a miserable funk. goes so far as to advocate waiving both Belliard and veteran outfielder Garret Anderson, while keeping young outfielder Xavier Paul in the majors and signing Russell Branyan.

One thing’s for certain, the Dodgers can’t afford for two of their bench players to be so completely unproductive. Belliard, who fortunately for him doesn’t have a Paul pushing him, needs to get it going.

Some facsimile of that 2009 Belliard has to be located.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo credit: Kirby Lee / US Presswire