DALLAS -- The agent for troubled Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Ronald Belisario, who missed all of the 2011 season because he couldn't obtain a work visa to enter the U.S. from his native Venezuela, said Monday that his client is hoping to receive that visa in the next day or two and rejoin the Dodgers for the 2012 season.
"He has attended several meetings, and he has been through all the things he needs to do," said Rick Oliver, Belisario's current agent. "He is very hopeful that he will get his visa, but I don't think it's 100 percent right now. We may know by (Tuesday)."
One source said that just to get this close to obtaining a visa, Belisario had to pass a blood test for drug use and a psychological exam, but Oliver said he was unaware of any tests of those types.
"I am not exactly sure of all the testing he has undergone," Oliver said. "It was more of a physical examination."
Oliver said Belisario is in good physical shape and, if granted a visa, plans to report early to spring training.
Belisario became a key figure in the Dodgers bullpen in 2009, when he posted a 2.04 ERA in 69 appearances as a rookie. But he reported to camp five weeks late in 2010 because of visa issues, resulting in him beginning the season in extended spring training and not joining the big league club until April 21, and his ERA ballooned to 5.04 in 59 appearances.
Finally, Belisario didn't show up at all in 2011 because he was unable to secure a visa from the U.S. Consulate in Caracas, resulting in his being placed on the restricted list by the Dodgers. Players on the restricted list can't be paid or accrue major league service time. If the Dodgers were to remove Belisario from that list, they would have to move him directly to the 40-man roster, and they wouldn't have the option of bringing him to camp as a non-roster invitee without passing him through waivers.
Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said last week that he might be in the market for an additional reliever, but the possible return of Belisario to a bullpen that was strong during the second half of the 2011 season and returns almost intact -- veteran Mike MacDougal is a free agent and lefty Hong-Chih Kuo is likely to be non-tendered -- could fill that need without the cash-strapped Dodgers having to sign another free agent.
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.