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Ronald Belisario, the Dodgers' international man of mystery

March 26, 2010 |  7:02 am
What’s a spring training without a little mystery?

The trouble for the Dodgers is that this is beginning to look like more than some little mystery. This is Michael Connelly, Robert Crais material. This is you've-got-to-be-kidding-me material.

It’s March 26 and still no sign of reliever Ronald Belisario.

Belisario continues to have visa issues back in Venezuela, we think. No one seems certain exactly what is going on. No one is saying much of anything.

This is the only part we know for certain: Belisario is missing.

Missing from camp, reportedly missing several appointments with the U.S. Embassy to gain permission to enter the country and now missing from the Dodgers’ plans to start the season.

The visa was supposedly being delayed because of a DUI arrest last June in Pasadena. But his attorney said the charges were reduced to a non-alcohol-related reckless-driving charge and he was fined $1,000. He said that on March 17.

It’s almost April and still no sign of Belisario. Still no indication when he’ll arrive.

Hey, guess what? They have phones in Venezuela. Can’t somebody call and at least find out what the deal is? It’s not like he’s on Mars.

Does this guy really want to be a major leaguer? He was late last spring too. Just not this late. Never heard of anyone being this late. Apparently last year failed to teach him a lesson. Maybe the Dodgers too, who should have been all over this guy to take care of his paperwork in a timely manner.

Right now, the Dodgers have no idea if he’s been working out or what kind of shape he’s in.

"Until he gets here, there is no way to tell," said General Manager Ned Colletti. "But I would think that it's easier to make the team in Glendale than in Caracas. It could be a long shot."

Colletti said that on March 15.

And still, nothing.

Understand, despite Colletti’s comment, Belisario was an absolute lock to make the team. I mean, he’s 6-foot-3 and throws heat. Came out of nowhere last year to become a valuable member of baseball’s best bullpen, appearing in 69 games and posting a 2.04 ERA.

But even if he surprises the Dodgers and shows up Friday, he has almost no shot of making the team to start the season.

Somebody put a picture of Belisario up on the clubhouse wall and wrote: Most Wanted. Doug Mientkiewicz suggested the Dodgers hire Dog the Bounty Hunter to track him down. Isn’t there some kind of Venezuelan FBI?

He’s a big dude; he can’t be that hard to track down. Instead, he’s become the Venezuelan Waldo.

It’s easy to blame the U.S. State Department, but Belisario has to be held responsible. He knew what the deal was back in October.

The rest of his teammates have been in camp for over a month. The regular season starts in 10 days. The Dodgers are making bullpen decisions without him. And Belisario remains missing.

-- Steve Dilbeck
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