GLENDALE, Ariz. — The White Sox are hopeful Ronald Belisario’s visa issues will be resolved shortly and he can report to spring training.
The Venezuelan-born relief pitcher is nearly two weeks late to camp and still the White Sox have no definitive word when he may arrive. White Sox pitchers and catchers reported to camp on Feb. 15. The team is admittedly starting to show concern about when Belisario will join them but is far from frustration, general manager Rick Hahn said.
Late to camp for the third time in four years, the White Sox knew Belisario might experience visa issues. Hahn said the reliever has gone through part of the process but wasn’t completed as of Wednesday.
“It’s something that’s beyond our control,” Hahn said. “It’s not entirely unexpected with immigration, especially with a player that had issues with immigration in the past. We’ve got to keep in mind that we’re dealing with a relief pitcher who needs to get stretched out to one inning, maybe two, by the end of camp and there’s more than enough time for that.”
Relief pitchers don’t need quite as much time as their starting counterparts to prepare for the season. Last year, Jesse Crain only pitched a few times before the end of camp but was placed on the Opening Day roster. Even so, manager Robin Ventura would like Belisario to get into camp and get up to speed.
“It just sets it back,” Ventura said. “That’s the thing about all of this is when you get set back this far, it’s just that much further until he gets here and gets into the flow of the spring and how he’s going to react going forward.”
Belisario’s representatives informed Hahn that the reliever is working out and throwing in Venezuela.
“Once he gets here, we’ll get going on that process, but it’s not that long of a process,” Hahn said. “There’s certainly a lot of time left in camp and more than enough to get a relief pitcher ready for the season.”