Bettis scheduled to throw bullpen session

Right-hander making strong recovery after testicular cancer surgery

June 17th, 2017

DENVER -- Rockies right-handed pitcher ' comeback from testicular cancer takes a new step forward Sunday, when he is scheduled to throw a 15-pitch bullpen session from the mound with the catcher behind a plate 60 feet, 6 inches away.

Bettis, who underwent surgery in November but had to have chemotherapy treatments when doctors learned the cancer had spread to his lymph nodes, rejoined the club June 6 to begin his comeback in earnest. Sunday will be his third time throwing from the mound; the other times were at shortened distances.

"I feel great," Bettis said. "It'll be all fastballs. Yesterday, I threw curveballs and changeups, but with the catcher in front."

Bettis' pitching ability isn't all that's back.

Before the illness, Bettis -- who went 14-8 with a 4.79 ERA in 2016 and emerged as a rotation leader during the second half (7-2, 3.45 ERA) -- was a man of many looks. He sported beards, sideburns and mustaches, but chemotherapy robbed him of that.

Bettis has been shaving his head because he doesn't like the early peach fuzz, but traces of his familiar facial hair are returning. He posed for fans Saturday during the Rockies' Photo Day before the contest with the Giants.

"It's interesting," Bettis said. "Some of it is coming in a little more fully than others, but it's nice to start growing facial hair again."