PHOENIX -- Rockies right-handed pitcher Chad Bettis' comeback from testicular cancer will accelerate this week, when he faces hitters at Coors Field in preparation for a Minor League rehab assignment -- which will occur during the All-Star break.Bettis, 28, who was diagnosed in November and had a testicle removed but
PHOENIX -- Rockies right-handed pitcher Chad Bettis' comeback from testicular cancer will accelerate this week, when he faces hitters at Coors Field in preparation for a Minor League rehab assignment -- which will occur during the All-Star break.
Bettis, 28, who was diagnosed in November and had a testicle removed but had to undergo chemotherapy in March and April when it was learned the disease had spread to lymph nodes, will have a bullpen session of roughly 55 pitches at Coors Field on Monday. Manager Bud Black said for part of it, he will have a hitter in the box for the first time since he rejoined the club for workouts in early June.
After at least one more scheduled live batting-practice session, Bettis will go on his rehab assignment. It hasn't been determined how many rehab games he will pitch before rejoining the Rockies' pitching staff. But the time for game action and a Major League return is drawing near enough for Bettis to have an increased excitement level.
"It's going to be really exciting -- a long time coming, that's for sure," Bettis said. "I'm getting back in the swing of things and getting the feel for everything again."
Bettis said if this were Spring Training, his strength is about the level of March.
"The strength is there, although not necessarily as good as the feel on some of my pitches," Bettis said.
Bettis went 14-8 with a 4.79 ERA in 22 starts last year and emerged as a rotation leader when he went 7-2, 3.75 in 14 starts after the All-Star break.
"To see him just clear all these hurdles is really, really cool for all of us -- coaches, players, organization," Black said.
• Outfielder Gerardo Parra, who was hitting .318 with six homers and 28 RBIs through 49 games before suffering a right quadriceps strain June 6, said he will undergo an MRI on Monday in Denver. If all goes well, he will join Triple-A Albuquerque for a rehab assignment that will consist of five innings Tuesday, seven Wednesday and nine Thursday before he is evaluated for a return.
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**.