CHICAGO -- Dodgers reliever Ronald Belisario is back in the Major Leagues after a 25-game suspension for a positive cocaine test, ready to make amends and save his career.
"I feel pretty good about it, thank God," said Belisario, activated Thursday when the Dodgers designated for assignment Mike MacDougal. "I thank the owner for the opportunity."
Manager Don Mattingly admitted both parts of the roster move were difficult for management because of MacDougal's importance last year and the obvious baggage Belisario carries.
"None of us know what's going to happen," said Mattingly. "Who knows if it's the right one or the wrong one? We don't have a crystal ball. But it's a decision we came to."
Belisario missed the entire 2011 season, unable to get a work visa because of repeated drug problems. But he said he never thought his career was over.
"I was being positive, working hard," Belisario said. "A second chance -- I worked hard for [it], and now I have it. I learned a lot of things. Everybody makes mistakes. I learned how to work hard, keep my mind straight on baseball. It changed me a lot."
As a Minor Leaguer with Florida and Pittsburgh, Belisario missed the 2005 season after Tommy John surgery and '06 with an unspecified suspension, then was signed out of the Venezuelan Winter League in '09 as a free agent.
Belisario, now 29, became a workhorse that year, making 69 appearances with a 2.03 ERA. He threw a fastball in the mid-90s with a diving sinker and was used in the late innings. But a disastrous 2010 season followed that included a month-long drug rehab and a whopping three-run increase in his ERA.
Mattingly said Belisario will serve as a middle and long reliever.
The club hopes MacDougal will accept a Minor League assignment, as Mattingly put it, "to get straightened out." He dealt with a bruised finger in Spring Training and lost weight from the flu last month. At no point this year did he have the command he had last year.
With Uribe getting better, LA options Sellers
CHICAGO -- Dodgers third baseman Juan Uribe took batting practice Friday and told the team his wrist was good to go, which meant that to make room for the addition of Bobby Abreu, Justin Sellers had to be sent down.
The club optioned Sellers to Triple-A Albuquerque, because he had options remaining and the flexibility to be sent down. He was disappointed and consoled by several teammates after getting the news from manager Don Mattingly.
"They optioned me down to make room for Abreu," Sellers said. "I understand it's out of my control. I'll go down and try to get better and be ready when they need me."
Sellers was hitting only .150 after making the Opening Day roster as Dee Gordon's backup at shortstop. Now versatile veteran Jerry Hairston adds backup shortstop to his long list of duties.
"I understand how the game works," said Sellers. "I know something can happen at any time. I know I can play in the big leagues right now. That's important. I know other people know that, too. It's a matter of getting the opportunity."
Uribe, meanwhile, missed another start because of recurring soreness in his left wrist, originally injured two weeks ago in a slide into home. But Mattingly said he expects to start Uribe in the next day or two now that he's responded well to a cortisone injection.
"I expect him to be able to play right away," said Mattingly, who started Hairston at third base Friday. "I know we saw the same [injury] in Milwaukee [two weeks ago]. We have to see if it pops back up or if he can play through."
Lilly says he's good to go for Monday
CHICAGO -- Dodgers pitcher Ted Lilly, who came out of his Tuesday start in Denver early with a strained right oblique, said he won't miss a start.
"I'm pitching Monday," Lilly said after throwing a bullpen session at Wrigley Field before Friday's games against the Cubs.
Lilly is scheduled to start Monday night in the homestand opener against the Giants. He was removed after six innings in Colorado when his side stiffened up, and the lefty said at that time that he was forced to cut short his bullpen session last Sunday.
Lilly is 3-0 with a 1.38 ERA, tied for fourth in the league. He missed a start when he opened the season on the disabled list because of a stiff neck.
Magic, Dodgers to honor Robinson on Monday
CHICAGO -- The Dodgers open their first homestand under new ownership Monday night with a tribute to Jackie Robinson's legacy that will include his widow, Rachel Robinson.
At the invitation of Guggenheim Baseball Management partner Magic Johnson, Rachel Robinson will be part of the first pitch ceremony for the Dodgers-Giants game. Johnson will escort Robinson, along with Jackie Robinson's Brooklyn teammate and Dodgers executive Don Newcombe, who will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
"I am here thanks to the sacrifices made by Jackie Robinson, Don Newcombe and others of their era that overcame similar hardships, and turned challenges into opportunities, creating a Dodger legacy that endures today," said Johnson, who has broken the Major League owners color barrier as Robinson did the player color barrier.
"Our debt to Jackie for his impact on society, and athletes like me, can never be repaid. It will truly be an honor to stand with Rachel and Don, as I join the Dodgers in our mission to make Jackie proud by doing everything in our power to help this iconic team return to its rightful place atop Major League Baseball."
Joining Rachel Robinson will be daughter Sharon and grandson Jesse Simms.
Jeffrey Osborne will perform the national anthem and "God Bless America" at the game, which will be the first one reflecting the drop in parking prices from $15 to $10, as was announced by Johnson at Wednesday's introductory press conference.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.