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Ronald Belisario says positive cocaine test was reason for absence

February 22, 2012 |  8:23 am

Ronald Belisario
Back with the Dodgers after a year-long absence, reliever Ronald Belisario said he couldn’t leave his native Venezuela last year because he tested positive for cocaine.

Belisario said he didn’t know when he tested positive for the drug or what entity administered the test.

But the hard-throwing right-hander insisted he doesn’t have a cocaine problem, saying he used the drug only once. He said he hasn’t been treated for cocaine addiction.

“I don’t have a problem with any drugs,” he said.

Belisario will have to serve a 25-game suspension at the start of the upcoming season for violating baseball’s drug policy.

Belisario missed part of the 2010 season to receive treatment in a substance-abuse program. He said the treatment he received wasn’t for cocaine use, but declined to specify any further.

“That’s in the past,” he said. “I don’t want to talk about it.”

Armed with a mid-90s sinker, Belisario posted a 2.04 earned-run average in 69 appearances as a rookie in 2009. He was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence late that year.

Belisario said his troubles are behind him.

“I’m going to be here for a long time,” he said.

He said he was looking forward to resuming his once-promising career.

“Man, I’m so excited to be here,” Belisario said. “I was waiting for this moment. Finally, I’m here.”

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-- Dylan Hernandez in Phoenix

Photo: Ronald Belisario in 2010. Credit: Bret Hartman / For The Times

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