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Stop the presses! Ronald Belisario spotted at Dodgers camp

January 30, 2012 |  2:06 pm

Ronald-belasario_600

There’s goes that spring suspense. Anyway, I think so. When the subject is Ronald Belisario (pictured above in 2010), it’s difficult to be certain of much.

Belisario had visa issues in each of the last three springs, apparently never getting one last year. At least he was never seen on U.S. soil.

But now comes word that -- maybe you should sit down -- Belisario not only already has his visa, but is at the Dodgers’ Camelback Ranch facility in Phoenix.

ESPN/L.A.'s Tony Jackson dropped by the team's "young guns" camp at Camelback on Sunday and guess who was there: everyone’s favorite hard-throwing, Venezuelan right-hander. Next thing I know, you’ll tell me Don Mattingly went drag queen in a Christmas show.

The Dodgers had better make sure he doesn’t go home for a visit before pitchers and catchers report Feb. 20. Not that the Dodgers would be wise to count on anything when it comes to Belisario.

He was something his rookie season (2.04 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings), if you disregard that DUI incident. The next season, late to camp again (presumably because the DUI affected his visa request), he was sometimes brilliant but mostly a mess (5.04, 1.29, 6.2). And that’s not counting his disappearance for a month reportedly to enter rehab.

Then came the announcement last December that Belisario had been suspended for 25 games for violating baseball’s drug policy. Given his history, the suspension might almost work in the Dodgers’ favor. It gives the team additional time to monitor his progress after sitting out all last season, and to make sure he’s clean and has his head together.

He has a lot to prove to win back the Dodgers’ trust, but apparently he’s here and ready to go for it. That alone is real progress, even if a suspense killer.

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-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo credit: Bret Hartman / For The Times

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