Dodgers Now

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Category: Travis Schlichting

Dodgers place Ronald Belisario on restricted list for unspecified personal reasons

The mystery of Ronald Belisario.

It deepened Wednesday when the Dodgers put their right-handed reliever on the restricted list.

They said it was for "personal reasons." And that’s all they said. All manager Joe Torre or vice president of communications Josh Rawitch said they even knew.

Not whether it was a family or legal or any other kind of issue. Not if he’ll be gone a day or two, or a month.

"I can’t answer because I don’t know," Torre said. "I have not been told, maybe so I can’t answer your questions."

Which is too bad, because now speculation will fly unabated. If it were simply a family issue, the Dodgers would normally announce that.

So the organization’s lack of openness -- which could be warranted for very different reasons -- will naturally lead to media outlets dusting off last summer’s news when he was arrested in Pasadena for driving under the influence.

That was partially responsible for Belisario showing up a month late from Venezuela to spring training, at which time the Dodgers also placed him on the restricted list while he remained behind in Arizona to get in shape.

His DUI was resolved in March when he pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of reckless driving.

Belisario was ultimately activated on April 21, and has appeared in 35 games with a 1-1 record and 3.79 ERA. If not exactly like last season when he owned a 2.04 ERA, he had still worked himself back into a valuable, late-inning spot in the bullpen’s rotation.

"This takes a big chunk out of it," Torre said. "Especially the fact that he was pretty much a seventh- eighth- ninth-inning guy. Hopefully (Travis) Schlichting can pick up some of the slack."

The rookie Schlichting was likely headed back to triple-A Albuquerque to make room for Carlos Monasterios, who was activated Wednesday, until the mystery of Belisario unfolded.

Torre said Belisario had been nothing but a good citizen since his return in April.
"He hasn’t been an issue," he said. "No disciplinary stuff has gone on. He’s been here for us every day.

"I had no hint of this, and had no conversation regarding this with him."

Torre said he had been warned after Tuesday’s game by general manager Ned Colletti that something was brewing with Belisario.

Now, he said, the Dodgers just have to march on and wait to see what happens with the hard-throwing Belisario.

"We don’t have him," Torre said. "It’s like an injury. You can’t take time to get back on your feet, you have to do it right now."

-- Steve Dilbeck

Apparently Diamondbacks believe it is better to give than receive, as Dodgers roll to 14-1 victory

Kemp_300 The gifts came from everywhere, off hands and gloves, from an umpire’s mistake and a center fielder’s failed attempt at a Willie Mays catch.

Gifts so numerous that even when the Dodgers did a Keystone Kops routine on the bases, it did not matter one iota.

The Diamondbacks were in such a giving mood Saturday, the Dodgers scored six runs in an absolutely ridiculous second inning and not one was earned.

The Dodgers weren’t about to re-gift, either, rolling to an 14-1 victory over the Diamondbacks that showed newbie manager Kirk Gibson how the other half lives.

With Clayton Kershaw throwing blanks, it was all way too much for the deflated Diamondbacks, who committed five errors in the first three innings. They finished with a team-record six errors, three by ex-Dodger Tony Abreu.

The game turned in the second, beginning with an innocent single by James Loney.

Which was about the end of anything routine. Casey Blake followed with a bouncer to first baseman Rusty Ryal, who made a nice stop and then dropped the ball and threw it away for an error.

Xavier Paul, just called up when Manny Ramirez was placed on the disabled list, then walked to load the bases on three balls when home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman lost track of the count.

Struggling Russell Martin struck out, but Blake DeWitt singled to score one. Kershaw then hit a bouncer to Abreu that possibly could have been a double play, except he dropped it for an error.

Hot-hitting Rafael Furcal -- who has multiple hits in seven consecutive games -- sent a drive to deep center. Chris Young ran straight back and tried to make a Mays-esque over-the-head catch, but dropped it.

Two more scored, not that the fun was done. Kershaw, who had rounded second, apparently thought Young made the catch and starting running back to first. Where he was promptly passed on the bases by the sprinting Furcal, who was immediately out.

Matt Kemp then homered to score two more, and it was 6-0 Dodgers.

The Dodgers added one more unearned run when the Diamondbacks committed errors on three consecutive plays. Those Diamondbacks, generous to a fault.

The Dodgers finally added a couple of earned runs off Rodrigo Lopez in the fourth when both Furcal and Andre Ethier hit solo home runs.

They scored two more in the fifth on a DeWitt single and a throwing error by Abreu.

And on it went. They scored three more in the sixth, two on a Paul single and one on a Martin sacrifice fly. Yes, things were so crazy, even Martin drove in a run.

Meanwhile, Kershaw (8-4) kept turning the Diamondbacks away. He threw 5 2/3 shut-out innings, allowing four hits and two walks, while striking out eight. He did, however, throw 105 pitches.

Travis Schlichting, just called up Saturday to replace Ramon Troncoso, threw 2 1/3 scoreless innings. Jonathan Broxton lost the shutout in the ninth when he gave up a solo home run to Mark Reynolds, the first homer he's allowed this season.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Matt Kemp points to the sky after hitting a two-run home run in the second inning. Credit: Rick Scuteri / Associated Press.

Dodgers place Manny Ramirez on disabled list, option Ramon Troncoso to Albuquerque

Manny_300 Life without Manny Ramirez, Part II … in a continuing series?

The Dodgers gave in and placed Manny and his sore hamstring on the disabled list prior to Saturday’s game.

With the All-Star break looming, he’ll only have to miss nine more games. And since he doesn’t normally play in day games, he’ll likely miss only  seven.

Manager Joe Torre to reporters in Phoenix: "In talking to the doctors, there seemed a remote chance he'd be ready by Tuesday or Wednesday, [but] there's no reason to gamble with this. He's eligible for the first day after the break. He might go on rehab somewhere during the break."

Ramirez previously went on the 15-day disabled list April 23 with a sore calf. During his absence, the Dodgers went 6-8.

That time, as they did Saturday, they called up outfielder Xavier Paul from triple-A Albuquerque. Paul was in the lineup in left Saturday, batting sixth. He’s hit .281 in 57 at-bats with the Dodgers.

Ramirez,  however, was not the only move made by the Dodgers Saturday, and not the most surprising.

The Dodgers also optioned right-hander Ramon Troncoso to Albuquerque and called back up Travis Schlichting.

The surprising part of the Troncoso move was simply its timing. He’s been something of a mess for two months now (6.46 ERA) and has been death with inherited runners.

Friday against the Diamondbacks, however, he threw two shut-out innings without allowing a hit or walk.

Torre to reporters: "We all know that he's capable of pitching well. We just want him to work on his mechanics where his release point is consistent."

George Sherrill is also a mess, of course, and Justin Miller isn’t exactly wowing anyone. They, unlike Troncoso, are out of options.

Troncoso figures to be back shortly, after getting a tad of rest and, hopefully, performing well at Albuquerque.

This is Schlichting's second stint with the Dodgers. He is unscored upon in 7 2/3 innings.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Manny Ramirez. Credit: Christian Petersen / Getty Images

Dodgers open their Fenway experience with nightmare fifth inning in 10-6 loss

There will be worse innings for the Dodgers this season.

Probably. Possibly. OK, there’s a reasonable chance.

Friday’s fifth inning in Boston, however, won’t be easy to topple. It was the kind of inning that comes right from the horrific mind of Stephen King, who coincidentally, happens to be a monstrous Red Sox fan.

It was so ugly, so completely embarrassing for the Dodgers, the Red Sox fans couldn’t even muster up a reaction to Manny Ramirez when he batted to open the sixth.

Sympathy for the fallen.

The Dodgers and Red Sox were locked in a 3-3 tie going into the bottom of the fifth. All was about to change.

Rookie Carlos Monasterios, starting Friday because Chad Billingsley (groin) went on the disabled list, never would get an out.

To single out any one player for what transpired, however, would be grossly unfair.

In the fifth inning, the Red Sox would score seven runs on six hits, an error, a wild pitch, a stolen base, a hit batter and two walks.

Other than that, it was a thing of beauty.

The Red Sox, naturally, went on to a 10-6 victory. They were winning so easily that Manny’s return to Boston was quickly overlooked.

Monasterios started the trouble by giving up a single, a walk and then a double to Kevin Youkilis. Which ended the night for Monasterios, but not his trouble. Ramon Troncoso relieved, and more trouble brewed. Troncoso, still struggling to find the consistent form he displayed in April, gave up a single to Darnell McDonald that Matt Kemp misplayed for an error, as two more scored.

Former Dodger Adrian Beltre then almost hit a two-run home off of one knee. The ball was actually hit out of the park.

That ended the damage against Monasterios, as the kids plugging holes in the rotation continue to cause concern. After starting the year 2-0 with a 1.87 earned-run average in his first 14 games (three starts), Monasterios has gone 0-2 with a 9.59 ERA in his last three starts.

Troncoso’s troubles were hardly over. Jason Varitek doubled, Mike Cameron walked and went to second on a wild pitch and Daniel Nava was hit by a pitch. Finally, out came Troncoso.

A run-scoring fielder’s choice and a sacrifice fly off Travis Schlichting and the Red Sox were up seven runs. And the Dodgers had an inning to forget.

Manny went one for five with a single.

__ Steve Dilbeck

Chad Billingsley heading to the disabled list with groin strain

Chad Billingsley is headed to the 15-day disabled list with a strained right groin, a move that will result in rookie Carlos Monasterios remaining in the Dodgers' rotation.

Monasterios was expected to be moved to the bullpen on Saturday, when the Dodgers are expected to activate opening day starter Vicente Padilla in Boston. The Dodgers are planning to call up right-handed reliever Travis Schlichting from triple-A Albuquerque on Wednesday to replace Billingsley on the active roster.

Billingsley said he was hurt in his last start, a loss to the Angels on Friday in which he was charged with seven runs and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings.

"In the sixth inning, I threw a pitch, I just felt it grab," he said.

Billingsley underwent an MRI exam on Sunday that revealed no structural damage, but he was unable to throw his regularly scheduled bullpen session Tuesday without significant discomfort.

Billingsley said he has had problems with his groin dating back to 2004.

-- Dylan Hernandez in Cincinnati

Dodgers activate Charlie Haeger and the clock may finally be ticking

He’s baaaack …

That’s right, buckle up knuckleball freaks, Charlie Haeger was activated prior to Thursday’s game. Imagine the chills that must have gone through the Braves’ clubhouse.

For the moment, however, Haeger will not be starting. That, remarkably, is still coming, but for now his new role is Emergency Guy. I think that means he'll pitch when the Dodgers are already down by seven runs.

Manager Joe Torre’s fascination with Haeger is not over, however. He is going to get another start fairly soon, in what I suspect is his last-ditch effort for him to prove to Torre -- or is it Ned Colletti? -- that he is in no way the answer.

Torre said Carlos Monasterios, who’s been slow to win the manager’s affection, will likely get the next start when the fifth spot in the rotation next comes up Monday.

Haeger, who was on the disabled list with plantar fasciitis and then turf toe, was activated because the Dodgers burned out reliever Travis Schlichting with four innings of sterling work Wednesday and sent him back to triple-A Albuquerque.

"We activated Haeger more out of necessity than really wanting to at this point," Torre said. "I would feel a lot better if I was a little surer of his physical well-being, but after [Wednesday’s] game we’re kind of up against it."

Such a thrilling vote of confidence. But then, Haeger is 0-4 with an 8.49 ERA.

Meanwhile, the easy-throwing Monasterios is 2-0 with a 1.87 ERA and just threw five shutout innings Wednesday.

You would think this would be such an obvious decision it would make itself. But given that Monasterios had barely pitched above the class A level until this season, the Dodgers have gone very slowly with him.

"I just don’t want to all of a sudden anoint him and then put the pressure on him," Torre said. "We knew when we left spring training it was going to be a process involving him. We wanted to get him the experience, and get him opportunities where it could be a positive result.

"It’s not that I’m hesitant in any way, I just want to make sure we’re really careful with him and don’t all of a sudden count on him. Even though he’s certainly taken on more of a significant role."

All of this is not only tentative, but potentially very temporary.

There figures to be more movement on the pitching staff in the next couple of weeks. Reliever George "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" Sherrill is expected to come off the disabled list next week, and starter Vicente Padilla could come as soon as the following week.

"My thought is [Monasterios is] probably going to get the next start," Torre said. "But we still have to find out about Haeger. And as soon as I’m comfortable that physically he’s OK, we’re going to have to start him and just have some idea of what we have.

"It’s not that I don’t trust Monasterios. I think he’s answered a lot of questions. But we still have to make some decisions on pitchers … so we have to have some movement here and we’re going to have to make some decisions, and we want to get as much information as we can."

Almost sounds like they’re going to throw Haeger out there one last time to prove he cannot get it done. Somebody needs more evidence.

Haeger is a stand-up, competitive guy who would be the first to tell you he has pitched miserably. But he’s essentially a trick ball pitcher whose knuckleball hasn’t been tricky.

His time, I think, is running out.

-- Steve Dilbeck


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