Eric Stephen (a blogger!) scoops the “real” media with some out-of-nowhere news:
We have no idea what those reasons are yet, so while I’ll note his DUI last winter and two late arrivals to camp in a row thanks to visa issues, we can’t really speculate on what’s going on yet. (That’s your job, commenters.)
What we do know is that Joe Torre trusts only three members of his bullpen, and he’s now lost one of them. Belisario’s been outstanding of late, having not allowed more than one earned run in 19 games in a row stretching back to late May. His ERA over that time is just 1.31, and batters have just a .219/.269/.274 line against him. Losing him is a big blow; we’ll see just how long he’s going to be out for, because Torre – try as he might – can’t go to Hong-Chih Kuo and Jonathan Broxton every night, and the George Sherrills and Justin Millers of the world clearly aren’t earning a lot of confidence.
As for what the restricted list is used for, Baseball Prospectus’ Jeff Euston gave it an in-depth look recently. It’s, ah, generally not for good news:
Under Major League Rule 15, a team may petition MLB to place a player on the restricted list if he is unable to render his services to his club through some action of his own. Typical circumstances include failure to report, visa problems, domestic abuse situations or treatment for drug or alcohol abuse. A player on the restricted list does not count against the 40-man roster, is not paid, and does not earn service time. A team may keep a player on the list indefinitely until he is reinstated under Major League Rule 16.
The restricted list also can be a transactional last resort for a player with a personal issue. In 2003, baseball instituted the bereavement list, which allows a three- to seven-day excused absence for a player experiencing a family emergency or the death of a loved one. With permission from the Commissioner’s office, the player’s team may replace him on the active 25-man roster, though he continues to be paid and earn service time. But if an absence extends more than seven days, the club must resort to placing the player on the restricted list, where he is not paid and does not earn service time. Casey Kotchman, Cliff Floyd, and Alex Gonzalez (then with Cincinnati) all were placed on the restricted list in recent years after their seven-day bereavement leave had expired.
The restricted list is distinct from the suspended list and the disqualified list. The suspended list is used for players in violation of the prohibited substance ban or as the result of an on-field incident, such as a fight with another player or an incident with an umpire. A player suspended for an on-field incident may not be replaced on the active roster, leaving his team a man short for the duration of the suspension. For example, Tampa Bay played two games in April with a 24-man roster after catcher Dioner Navarro was suspended for bumping an umpire. But Philadelphia was able to field a complete 25-man roster after reliever J.C. Romero tested positive for a banned substance and was suspended for the first 50 games of 2009. Incidentally, the Phillies placed Romero on the restricted list during his suspension.