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Curbing enthusiasm over return of Ronald Belisario

December 21, 2011 |  1:13 pm

Dodgers_640All excited are you? Can’t get that heart to stop racing? Worried you’re going to hyperventilate?

Ronald Belisario is coming, Ronald Belisario is coming.

Supposedly. So his agent says. Complete with a 25-game suspension in tow for a drug-abuse violation.

Yeah, all underwhelmed. Belisario is about as reliable as a cellphone battery, although with a cellphone you at least have a warning when it’s going out. With Belisario, there’s no telling.

Now his agent says he’s actually managed to get a visa and plans to show up to spring training on time, which would be a first for him as a Dodger.

The first time he showed up late in 2009, he unexpectedly became a camp sensation. He made the team, threw some serious gas and finished the season with a 2.04 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP and 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings pitched in 69 games.

After having bounced around in the minors for the previous nine years, you would have thought he’d embrace this late-career opportunity. Instead, it was more visa issues the next spring following a previous DUI arrest, two stints on the restricted list (one reportedly for rehab) and a season in which he seldom looked the same (5.04 ERA).

The Venezuelan never could get a visa last year. And now he’s supposed to be welcomed back with open arms? I think not. This is a player with a lot to prove, in terms of his mental commitment, his drug issues and his arm.

Fortunately for the Dodgers, they don’t truly need him. Buoyed by the arrival of several young arms last year, it’s pretty much full. General Manager Ned Colletti is still negotiating to bring back Mike MacDougal. Wisely, the Dodgers are not about to count on Belisario again.

If he does show up on time, proves he’s committed again, has overcome his drug issues and has the arm of 2009, then swell. It’s like bonus points. The suspension actually gives the Dodgers another month to figure out where he’s at.

The Dodgers don’t play their 26th game until May 4, at which time some reliever will have no doubt fallen victim to injury. Belisario is out of options.

He’ll turn 29 on New Year’s Eve, which is kinda scary. He deserves another chance but needs to be on one short leash. Because right now it almost feels like a warning: Ronald Belisario is coming.

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— Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Ronald Belisario. Credit; Bret Hartman / For The Times

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