MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Nats face tough decision with Belisle near

Veteran reliever approaching rehab limit at Triple-A

Nats face tough decision with Belisle near

WASHINGTON -- On May 29, right-hander Matt Belisle was on a rehab assignment for Double-A Harrisburg when he said he was ready to come off the disabled list and pitch for the Nationals. Two weeks later, he is still on a rehab assignment, this time for Triple-A Syracuse.

So, when will Belisle, who has been on the 15-day DL since the end of April with a strained right calf, return to the Major League team? Even manager Dusty Baker doesn't have an answer. A Major League pitcher can be on a rehab assignment for no more than 30 days, and that period will end for Belisle on June 22, when the Nationals will be in Los Angeles amid a 10-game road trip.

The Nationals have a tough decision to make. The bullpen has been excellent recently. Left-hander Sammy Solis, who was brought to the Majors because of the injury to Belisle, has been outstanding, allowing three runs in 18 innings with 21 strikeouts. Belisle, 36, is signed through this season.

"What's going on is, [Belisle] is pitching [in Syracuse] when needed down there," Baker said. "We have to make a decision pretty soon. His 30-day [time limit] will be up. We are still trying to make a decision on who will go down and when. That's all I can tell you. It's going to be tough."

Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.