GLENDALE, Ariz. -- As new Chicago White Sox reliever Ronald Belisario remains stuck in his native Venezuela with visa issues, the club will have to start considering alternate bullpen plans if the situation isn’t resolved soon.
The White Sox will not get an update on the situation until Monday at the earliest and that update won’t necessarily mean there is a resolution. The team maintains the belief that the situation will be settled soon.
“We’re still on a watch,” manager Robin Ventura said. “It’s getting closer (to being an issue). These guys have all been out here doing stuff and it’s getting close to it. I don’t know if I can speed up the visa issue so you have to wait and see. We’ve got people working on it.”
Belisario was known for having visa issues when he pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and in 2011 he missed all of spring training. The Dodgers did not use him in the major leagues that year. He later admitted that his 2011 delay was due to a positive test for cocaine, but insisted he did not have a drug problem.
Despite those issues, the White Sox still took a $3 million chance on Belisario this season as the bullpen is being reconfigured following the departures of guys like Jesse Crain, Matt Thornton and Addison Reed.
The hard-throwing right-hander posted a 3.97 ERA in 77 outings last season, while struggling late in the season. In 2012 he had a 2.54 ERA in 68 appearances, while in his rookie season of 2009 he had a 2.04 mark in 69 outings.
The White Sox still expect to get Belisario in camp to start his preparations, the only question is when.
“Hopefully he’s ready and the way you use him, it just depends on if he’s ready and has enough strength that you wouldn’t notice it,” Ventura said. “But every day he’s not here it’s a day further.”