Betancourt expects to be on the mound Friday

Betancourt expects to be on the mound Friday

DENVER -- Rockies closer Rafael Betancourt had an anti-inflammatory shot in his right groin on Wednesday, and expects to return to the mound Friday at San Francisco and avoid the 15-day disabled list.

Betancourt has been pitching with groin tightness since late April, yet he is 10-for-10 in save opportunities this year and has a 1.56 ERA in 19 games. However, he was removed after two pitches in the 10th inning of Tuesday night's 5-4 victory over the D-backs.

The problem stems from the 2009 complete right groin tear that he suffered with the Indians. The Rockies acquired him in a trade later that year, and he has had to navigate through the pain each year. The inflammation is near the scar tissue from the injury.

"It's something I've been dealing with for the last five years," Betancourt said. "Two days is enough."

In the interim, the Rockies have options. Lefty Rex Brothers carries a sparkling 0.44 ERA, with one earned run in 20 1/3 innings, including a 17-innings scoreless streak. Righty Wilton Lopez has been scoreless in 13 of his last 14 appearances.

There has been talk of Brothers, 25, eventually taking over as closer. But Betancourt, 38, shows no signs of slowing, and Brothers has become one of the most effective lefty setup men in the game. Brothers said he would welcome the chance to close, but added, "We need Raffy."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.