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Bettis feels strong, 'motivated' after rehab start

Rockies righty continuing comeback from testicular cancer
MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

DENVER -- Rockies right-hander Chad Bettis' rehab start Sunday night for Triple-A Albuquerque at Salt Lake City wasn't the smoothest. But it provided information as he continues his comeback from testicular cancer, which has kept him out of the Majors this season.

Bettis, who had pitched twice at Double-A Hartford, exhausted his 62 pitches in 2 2/3 innings, as he threw 38 strikes and gave up three runs on six hits, with four strikeouts and two walks. Bettis' start was part of a wild, 9-8 Albuquerque victory.

DENVER -- Rockies right-hander Chad Bettis' rehab start Sunday night for Triple-A Albuquerque at Salt Lake City wasn't the smoothest. But it provided information as he continues his comeback from testicular cancer, which has kept him out of the Majors this season.

Bettis, who had pitched twice at Double-A Hartford, exhausted his 62 pitches in 2 2/3 innings, as he threw 38 strikes and gave up three runs on six hits, with four strikeouts and two walks. Bettis' start was part of a wild, 9-8 Albuquerque victory.

"Physically, I felt good and strong. I felt like I could've thrown a lot more," Bettis told reporters. "But I worked on what I need to. I felt like I was able to execute some of the pitches that I really wanted to, but at the same time, it seemed like there's some stuff to work on."

The pace of Bettis' outing was somewhat disjointed by the early production of the Albuquerque offense, which put up nine runs and 12 hits in its first two times at bat. Bettis said he had good movement on his fastball and has gained confidence in his curveball. But he credited Salt Lake hitters with solid approaches, and said he must execute better.

"I think this was a learning step in the whole process," he said. "I'm just ready. I feel good to get back out there five days from now."

Bettis is scheduled for five innings or 75-80 pitches on Friday night at home against Omaha. His rehab period runs through Aug. 13.

With four rookies in the current rotation, the Rockies -- leading the National League Wild Card standings after 100 games -- will be looking for leadership from Bettis, who went 14-8 with a 4.79 ERA last season but took major forward strides during a 7-2, 3.75 performance in 14 starts after the All-Star break.

"I want to be able to help them," Bettis said. "An outing like tonight is not going to help them. That's why this next outing, what I really want to work on is executing all my pitches.

"It has motivated me a little bit. I want to be up there. I want to be contributing."

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and like his Facebook page.

Colorado Rockies, Chad Bettis