Report: Ronald Belisario explains delay
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Reliever Ronald Belisario told a Venezuelan sports media outlet Thursday that he hasn't shown up to Los Angeles Dodgers camp because he lost his passport and is waiting to get a visa.
That explanation comes a day after his agent said he wasn't optimistic that his client will pitch for the Dodgers this season.
"I lost my passport," Belisario told Diario Lider en Deportes. "I have an appointment [Friday] at the consul, and all I need is to get a new passport. Of course I'm going to spring training. As soon as this is done, I will go to the [U.S.] Embassy to get my visa, because I already passed my health exams."
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According to another Venezuela-based source, Belisario is expected to have a new passport by Thursday and has an appointment at the U.S. Embassy in Caracas on Monday to complete the paperwork for securing a visa. After that, the source said, he plans on reporting to the Dodgers' spring-training facility sometime next week.
Told of Belisario's comments, Paul Kinzer, Belisario's Atlanta-based agent, said he was unaware of any major change in Belisario's status since Kinzer said on Wednesday that he wasn't optimistic Belisario would pitch for the Dodgers this year. He had said both the Dodgers and Kinzer had done all they could do to facilitate Belisario's on-time arrival to spring training and that Belisario had some issues he needed to work out for himself.
"I don't think things have changed that dramatically in one day," Kinzer said. "Not unless something has changed that I'm not aware of."
That Belisario could be reached by reporters in Venezuela was somewhat remarkable in itself, given that Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said Wednesday that no one in the organization had been able to get in touch with the pitcher for the past couple of weeks.
Belisario was late reporting to camp for the third year in a row because of visa issues last year. He didn't arrive until about a week before Opening Day, resulting in him being placed on the restricted list until he finally was activated three weeks into the regular season.
Belisario then left the team for personal reasons in early July -- neither he, Kinzer, nor anyone in the Dodgers organization ever revealed the reason for that departure -- and was gone for a month. Asked on Wednesday if the reason Belisario's current problems securing a visa from the U.S. Embassy in Caracas is similar to the reason for his absence last summer, Kinzer said simply, "Yeah."
Told on Thursday morning of Belisario's claim that he had simply lost his passport and was coming to spring training, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly seemed unimpressed.
"I'm going to be concerned with the guys who are here," Mattingly said. "If you are not here, it's tough to compete for a job."
Colletti seemed equally unimpressed.
"We'll say hello when he gets here," he said.
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.