Chad Bettis pitches his best minor-league rehab game, appears ready to rejoin Rockies’ rotation.
CLEVELAND» Rain fell in the way of Chad Bettis near New Orleans on Tuesday, but it will probably not keep him out of the majors.
The Rockies right-hander, in what figures to be his final rehab start in a comeback from cancer, pitched an impressive outing for Triple-A Albuquerque, with five concise innings of work, allowing one run on three hits, with two strikeouts and no walks.
Bettis, a 28-year-old who twice fell behind within the past year because of testicular cancer — first after surgery in December, then again for chemotherapy starting in February — pitched his best rehab game among six since returning to the mound for a Double-A game July 13.
Against the New Orleans Baby Cakes, a minor-league affiliate of the Miami Marlins, Bettis used just 37 pitches to retire nine of the first 10 batters he faced, including six groundouts. He left after five innings and 70 pitches when rain delayed the game 26 minutes. Bettis finished his night in the Isotopes’ bullpen and reached a planned limit of 90 pitches throwing on the side.
Bettis will probably return to the Rockies’ starting rotation Monday against the Atlanta Braves, when the club returns to Colorado to start a seven-game homestand. It will allow him an extra day of rest and place his comeback in familiar surroundings.
With an off day Thursday, Colorado will get through its current five-game road trip with a fourman rotation. German Marquez, who gave up just two hits in six innings Tuesday at Cleveland, will start Sunday at Miami.
In six minor-league appearances on his comeback trail, Bettis pitched 26M innings and gave up 10 earned runs, for a 3.37 ERA. Last season, he pitched 186 innings and won 14 games, both club highs. He finished with a 14-8 record and a 4.79 ERA. And, as the oldest pitcher on the team, Bettis, the Rockies hope, will help ground a rookie-heavy rotation.