LOS ANGELES CA - Relief pitcher Ronald Belisario #54 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws a pitch against the Florida Marlins (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Dodgers reliever Ronald Belisario now has a visa, but he'll have to serve a suspension for drugs before he can play again.
Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Ronald Belisario had a breakout year in 2009, a step-back year in 2010, and a completely lost year in 2011 when he couldn't get a visa to enter the United States. From Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times:
Facing drunk-driving charges, Belisario had trouble receiving a visa in 2010 and spent most of spring training in his native Venezuela. Later that year, he missed more than a month of the regular season to receive treatment in a substance-abuse program.
The following season, he wasn't even allowed in the country, likely because of the substance-abuse issues. But he's been granted a visa, and he should be in Dodgers camp for spring training.
There's a catch, though. When he rejoins the team, he'll have to serve a 25-game suspension for violating MLB's drug policy. The 25-game suspension is for using a "drug of abuse" rather than a stimulant or performance-enhancing drug.
The Dodgers should have room in their bullpen for a healthy, focused Belisaro, but he's certainly not a lock to make the team.