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Bettis solid again in second start back from DL

MLB.com

DENVER -- Chad Bettis underwent a long recovery in his battle with testicular cancer, but things are slowly returning to normal.

Bettis was economical on the mound for the second straight start in Saturday's 6-3 loss to the Brewers, needing just 92 pitches in seven innings of work. In his first outing of the year last Monday, Bettis also went seven innings while throwing 90 pitches.

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DENVER -- Chad Bettis underwent a long recovery in his battle with testicular cancer, but things are slowly returning to normal.

Bettis was economical on the mound for the second straight start in Saturday's 6-3 loss to the Brewers, needing just 92 pitches in seven innings of work. In his first outing of the year last Monday, Bettis also went seven innings while throwing 90 pitches.

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Though the Rockies had been treating Bettis' rehab starts as a personal Spring Training, Bettis feels he's partly in midseason form.

"I feel strong and good, which is nice, so from that aspect I would say that's probably midseason," Bettis said. "But getting back to executing my stuff, I need to be a little bit better. I think I could've done a better job in the third for sure."

Bettis had to work a bit more Saturday than in his first start when he hurled seven scoreless innings. The Brewers tagged Bettis for three runs in the third after taking advantage of a Charlie Blackmon misplay on an Eric Thames triple.

But manager Bud Black said it was good to see Bettis adjust after that rough inning.

"I think he and [catcher Jonathan Lucroy] realized early that the changeup wasn't gonna maybe be a factor, so he threw a little bit more slider-cutters, more curveballs," Black said. "He pitched well, but just the one inning where they bunched hits together."

Black also said Bettis' routine should not take people by surprise, as he's been starting professional games for over a month. Those rehab starts have given Bettis a lot of confidence.

"He's making pitches when he needs to. He's changing speeds, which is what he does," Black said.

Bettis still may have work to do in terms of elevating his fastball velocity. His fastball averaged 89.3 mph Monday and 89.5 Saturday, but prior to this year it was more than three ticks higher at 92.7 mph.

Nevertheless, Bettis continues to befuddle opposing hitters. Of his 14 innings pitched so far, he's only given up runs in Saturday's third inning.

"Talking to [pitching coach Steve Foster] about Chad, what we're seeing now is what he does," Black said. "He pitches, he keeps the ball down, he elevates when he needs to. He can get a ball in the corner. So he's pitching."

Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver.

Colorado Rockies, Chad Bettis