Link's Scoreless Innings Earns Him A Demotion

Jon Link calmed the raging Reds long enough for the Dodgers to climb back into the game Tuesday night, but all his first Major League appearance earned him was a pat on the back and a ticket to Albuquerque after the Dodgers announced the activation of Ronald Belisario.

Link was told he would not accompany the team to Washington for the middle three games of a nine-game road and was heading back to AAA Albuquerque.

Link was acquired in the deal that sent Juan Pierre to the Chicago White Sox, along with starter John Ely. Link spent three days in the major leagues in his first call-up and called it bittersweet.

Link's wife, mother and aunts drove from Virginia to watch him pitch Tuesday and were rewarded with a strong performance. He spent the first five years of his life in Ohio, said he grew up a Reds fan and was delighted to pitch his first game against them.

Manager Joe Torre told reporters before the game that reliever Belisario could join the club as early as Wednesday.

Belisario had arrived five weeks late to spring training because of difficulty obtaining a visa to enter the U.S. from his native Venezuela. He was placed on the restricted list on March 27, a move that removed him temporarily from the 40-man roster, but he has to be activated no later than Sunday.

The right-hander has been pitching in extended spring training in Glendale, Arizona and pitched on back-to-back days for the first time, indicating he was ready to return.

As a rookie, Belisario was a bright spot in the Dodgers league-leading bullpen last season. Working as a middle reliever, he had a team-leading 2.04 ERA over 69 appearances. A 40-man roster spot already was cleared for him when the Dodgers designated veteran right-hander Russ Ortiz for assignment.

Torre reported the club would wait until at least Thursday or Friday before activating reliever Hong-Chih Kuo, who has been on the 15-day disabled list all season with a balky left-elbow and pitched a perfect inning in each of his two rehabilitation appearances at high Single-A Inland Empire last week.

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