We Know Where Ronald Belisario Is… Or Do We?

Reports are that we finally know what’s going on with Ronald Belisario, and it’s not good news:

Reliever Ronald Belisario left the team earlier this week to receive treatment in a substance abuse program, according to a source familiar with the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The source, who was not authorized to speak on the matter, would not specify if Belisario is receiving residential or outpatient treatment. The source also would not identify the substance abused by the right-hander.

Though this report comes from Dylan Hernandez and Bill Shaikin, who I consider to be two of the top three (along with Tony Jackson) Dodger reporters, I’m not sure I 100% buy this just yet.

Obviously, it makes sense on the surface, since he did pick up a DUI last summer. There’s just a few things that bother me about it – first of all, the fact that it comes from an unnamed source, with no confirmation. As we’ve learned over and over, unless someone’s willing to go on the record – and sometimes even then – it can’t be taken as gospel. Secondly, you’d think that if reporters started making that claim that someone, anyone, connected with the situation would admit to it to try to get out ahead of the story, yet everyone is still silent. Belisario’s agent even went so far as to reply via text message, “Why would you write that?” That doesn’t sound like a response that a man who knew he had been outed would give; it sounds like a man who doesn’t like that misinformation is headed out but can’t do much about it.

The other oddity is that the other day, the agent said Belisario might be headed back to Venezuela. You would think that international travel would not be the first order of business if this were an abuse situation rather than a family issue, no?

Or, I could be just looking for conspiracies where none exist. Wouldn’t be the first time. Either way, I hope he’s back soon.

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Regardless of the reasons for Belisario’s absence, the Dodgers are going to need to make a relief addition, and soon, because they have two reliable relievers right now, and the way Torre’s using them, that could be zero at any time. I had started an article about what reasonable starting pitcher they could acquire, since they obviously didn’t get Cliff Lee and won’t get Roy Oswalt or Dan Haren. But now I think that a relief pitcher article may be more important. Thoughts?

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Speaking of Lee, you’ve certainly heard that he’s headed to Texas for a package led by 1B Justin Smoak. Dodger fans shouldn’t be all that upset, because there’s no one like Smoak in the minor-league system. Reports are that if the Dodgers were going to get in for Lee, it would have cost them James Loney or Chad Billingsley, which makes no sense at all. That would obviously hurt them for the future, since Lee can walk at the end of 2010, and it doesn’t even help them that much for this year since there’s no replacement for Loney at 1B, dealing Billingsley means there’s no improvement in the rotation depth, and the bullpen is a mess anyway.

J, of J’s Dodger Blog, tweets that the LA Times reports that the Dodgers were willing to include any minor league in their system except one. I would have just linked directly to that piece, but I can’t seem to find it on their site. Either way, who do we think that one player is? Gordon? Chris Withrow? Ethan Martin?

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More weirdness from Joe Torre last night. One day after not allowing Clayton Kershaw to start the 9th with 97 pitches under his belt, he lets Chad Billingsley start the 8th with 115. Thanks to the big ball of fail that George Sherrill and Justin Miller followed up with, the seemingly-harmless single Billingsley allowed to the one hitter he faced in the 8th turned into an earned run against him. (Never trust ERA, kids).

I’m not actually going to kill Torre for bringing in Broxton last night, because the Cubs were slowly nipping away at the lead and Miller allowed the first batter to reach in the 9th. I mean, what else was he going to do there, let Miller blow the game? Bring in Carlos Monasterios or Jeff Weaver in that situation? Try to quickly warm up Hong-Chih Kuo? Of course not. The problem is that he’s now pitched in five of the last seven days, and warmed up in at least one of the two days he didn’t. It’s no wonder that he wasn’t in top form last night, though he did get the job done. That, more than anything else, is why I wanted Kershaw to get the opportunity to complete his game on Thursday. Sure, it’d have been nice for Kershaw, but more importantly, you just can’t use Broxton every single night. I pray that today’s game is a blowout, and if it’s not, we might see Kuo in as the closer.

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ESPN’s Keith Law ranks the prospects in the Futures Game. Gordon comes in at 23 in his list, and Pedro Baez is in the “Remaining Prospects” section.

23. Dee Gordon, SS, LA Dodgers: The Dodgers took a big risk promoting Gordon two levels to AA, and as predicted he’s struggled at the plate, with poor pitch recognition leading to all-around trouble on offense. He’s a plus runner and a potential Gold Glover at short, and he has the hands and bat speed to hit for average. His father is Tom “Flash” Gordon.

Pedro Baez, 3b, LA Dodgers: Has bat speed and some pop, with a plus arm at third, but is unrefined across the board, notably in plate discipline and instincts in the field. He’s had knee trouble as well, limiting the reps he needs to improve as a hitter.

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  1. [...] Initial reports were that he was entered in a substance abuse facility, though we never did find out for sure what happened. Belisario missed over a month, and once again he was rusty upon his return, allowing nine earned runs in his first three games back. The second of those games was particularly painful, and indirectly led to Jonathan Broxton losing his closer’s job: All I ask is this: while you burn him in effigy, you don’t ignore the fact that Ronald Belisario faced five men in the 8th and got zero outs, and that Broxton induced a perfect double-play ball that went right through Casey Blake‘s legs. Broxton’s going to get the lion’s share of the blame here, and probably rightfully so. But he’s not alone in this loss, and that’s important to remember. [...]