Bettis declared cancer-free, resumes workouts

Rockies right-hander talks recovery, prognosis in radio interview

January 4th, 2017

DENVER -- Rockies right-handed pitcher told MLB Network Radio on Wednesday that follow-up exams have declared him cancer-free. Bettis had a testicle surgically removed in late November after cancer was discovered.

At the time of the surgery, Bettis said the surgeon did not believe the cancer had spread, and follow-up exams before Christmas confirmed that it had not.

"I feel great," said Bettis, who was interviewed by Mike Ferrin and Jim Duquette on SiriusXM MLB Network Radio channel's Power Alley show. "I got an early Christmas present the other day. The doctor called me on Dec. 22 and told me that I'm cancer-free, so all is good and I'm ready to push forward here."

The positive health news means Bettis can proceed as normal in his preparation for the 2017 season. Bettis was early in his throwing program when the cancer was discovered and lost just two weeks of conditioning.

"After that two-week process, I started full workouts," Bettis said. "I'm actually throwing now and working out again."

If 2017 is like the last couple seasons, Bettis will not pitch in Cactus League games until starters are going 3-4 innings, so his absence in early-camp games will not be a sign of something gone wrong. Bettis discovered the benefits of extra preparation in 2015, when he was held out of games until the end of Spring Training so he could correct delivery issues.

Bettis said he'll have blood work every 3-6 months to "make sure everything is normal and the tumor markers are good."

After beginning the interview with the health update, Bettis discussed his pitch repertoire, such as using his curveball at altitude, mixing his pitches and the future.

Considered a leader on a young pitching staff, Bettis, who turns 28 on April 26, went 14-8 with a 4.79 ERA in 32 starts last season. Since becoming a full-time member of the Rockies' starting rotation in 2015, Bettis is 22-14 with a 4.57 ERA and 236 strikeouts in 301 innings.

"It's fun," Bettis said. "We push each other to get better every day. We've developed a relationship that is hard to knock. We're all able to learn from each other and understand that we're all different pitchers in that same sense. Our future's exciting. We're going to be here for a while."