Why the Annoyance with Belisario

Visa problems are commonplace in baseball and nobody seemed to mind when reliever Ronald Belisario was late to camp last Spring. The difference this Spring is that Belisario is on the Major League roster, he’s out of options and the rest of baseball knows how good he is.

Belisario is one of a handful of Dodgers out of options — so are Eric Stults, Hong-Chih Kuo and Charlie Haeger. But if Belisario is missing long enough and he’s not ready to start the season on time, the Dodgers have a big problem. He can’t be sent to the Minor Leagues without clearing waivers, and there’s no chance he would clear after the way he pitched last year. That’s why management is so annoyed that he’s not in camp, although manager Joe Torre said he’s expected within a few days.

Not having any options remaining is also the reason the Dodgers will look long and hard at Stults and Haeger for either the fifth starter job or, in Haeger’s case, long relief.

Carlos Monasterios and Armando Zerpa, as Rule 5 picks, are in similar situations in that they are likely to be lost if they don’t make the Opening Day roster. Maybe that’s why Torre was paying special attention to Monasterios during his bullpen session Wednesday. – Ken Gurnick

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