Colorado Rockies: Chad Bettis and Kyle Freeland return to the rotation
By Kevin Henry
As first reported by Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post on Saturday night, Chad Bettis will make his return to the Colorado Rockies rotation on Monday when the Rockies open a series against the Atlanta Braves at Coors Field.
During Sunday morning’s media session inside the Rockies dugout at Marlins Park in Miami, Colorado manager Bud Black talked about what should be an emotional scene on Monday night at 20th and Black. Monday will mark the first time Bettis has pitched in a Major League game since being diagnosed with testicular cancer in the offseason.
"“He’s super excited. He’s super pumped, as are we to get him back,” Black said. “It’s going to be a really good day tomorrow in Denver.”"
Black said that he has relied on coaches and administrators from within Colorado’s minor league system to evaluate the six minor league starts Bettis made between Double-A Hartford and Triple-A Albuquerque between July 13 and August 8.
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"“The last month or so, we’ve seen him from afar. We haven’t seen it live. Being in touch with him and people getting back to us on the player development side getting back to us on how he’s doing. He’s popped in to Denver a few times,” Black told Rox Pile and other media members. “To see where he was when he was diagnosed and then rediagnosed, we’ve always had our eye on him because it was hard for us. He’s a big part of our team. To see a guy go through what’s he had to go through and see him work his butt off and come from a guy who had chemotherapy and how that feels to where he is now, what a great story for all of us, especially Chad and his family.”“It’s been wonderful to watch and track it and do what we can from our side to support and aid and help him. All of the guys in the training room, our physical therapists, coaches, people in player development, doctors, I mean everyone should feel good about this one.”"
Bettis has thrown 23.1 innings combined in the minors this season, posting an 0-3 mark and 4.24 ERA. But the numbers aren’t as important as the fact that the 28-year-old Bettis has built up his strength and pitch count in those starts.
"“He’s made six minor league starts and built his pitch counts,” Black said. “There was a critical eye on him over the last couple of starts. Our evaluators in the minor leagues felt that he was ready from a delivery standpoint, a strength standpoint, a stuff standpoint. All of the factors that determine if a guy is ready to pitch in the Major Leagues, he checked off all of those boxes.”"
Colorado will also have another pitcher returning from injury on Tuesday when Kyle Freeland is scheduled to take the mound. Freeland exited his last start against Philadelphia on August 4 in the first inning with what was diagnosed as a groin strain.
Black said Freeland won’t need a rehab start before rejoining the Rockies rotation.
"“We put Kyle through the paces yesterday (Saturday) with a very intense bullpen,” Black said. “He took batting practice. He ran. He did a lot of agility stuff. He did some pitcher’s fielding practice. Our guys put him through the paces and he responded.”"
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The rest of Colorado’s rotation against the Braves in the upcoming four-game series will feature Jon Gray on Wednesday and Jeff Hoffman on Thursday.