GLENDALE, Ariz. – Nine days into spring training for White Sox pitchers, manager Robin Ventura still was not able to provide an estimated arrival time for relief pitcher Ronald Belisario, who is having problems obtaining his visa in his native Venezuela.
“We’re still on a watch,” Ventura said.
Ventura said Belisario’s lateness is “getting closer” to becoming an issue.
“These guys have all been out here doing stuff, and it’s getting close to it,” Ventura said. “I don’t know if I can speed up the visa issue, so you have to wait and see.
Belisario, who signed a 1-year, $3 million contract as a free agent this offseason, has had visa problems in the past while playing for the Dodgers. He missed the entire 2011 season, he said, because he couldn’t obtain a visa after testing positive for cocaine.
“Hopefully he’s ready,” Ventura said. “And the way you use him depends on if he’s ready and has enough strength that you wouldn’t notice he’s behind.”
The Dodgers non-tendered Belisario in December after he went 5-7 with a 3.97 ERA in 68 innings in 2013. Over his 4-year career, he is 20-12 with a 3.29 ERA in 273 appearances.
No time at short: The Sox have tried Gordon Beckham at shortstop in the past, but Ventura said he is unlikely to see time there this spring. Infielder Marcus Semien, who can play shortstop, second and third, has been working on defensive drills at shortstop with Alexei Ramirez.
“We know [Beckham] can do it if we need to do it,” Ventura said. “Give other guys the opportunity to get ready to play.”
New look: Ventura had heard many reports about the success of infielder Micah Johnson, who totaled 84 stolen bases with three minor league teams last season, and helped Double-A Birmingham to the Southern League championship. Ventura said he is excited to get a look at Johnson, who also hit .312 in the minors last season.
“He’s good at [stealing bases], but he’s got a lot of tools,” Ventura said. “It’s nice to get down here and see them play and be able to evaluate. You also get to know them, and the intensity and intangibles that you can’t ever see written on a piece of paper.”