Nonetheless, Brothers still feels sharp. Going into Thursday night's game against the Nationals, Brothers had thrown 29 straight scoreless outings covering 26 2/3 innings.
"More than anything, it's taking more pride in the throwing program and the small side sessions, maybe five, eight pitches after the throwing program, to make sure I stay on top of the fundamentals, my cues," Brothers said. "All year, I've made a conscious effort to my throwing program and not letting myself form any bad habits."
Brothers said Betancourt and right-hander Matt Belisle taught him how to stay focused, even when the calls to the bullpen are not as frequent as at other times of the season.
Brothers has been a bright spot in a bullpen that has been stressed by the injuries of Betancourt and right-hander Edgmer Escalona (right elbow inflammation). Through May 21, when Betancourt was removed from a game against the D-backs after just two pitches, the Rockies were 25-21, and the bullpen was 6-6 with a 2.91 ERA. From then until Wednesday night, the Rockies were 12-15, and the bullpen was 5-8 with a 4.37 ERA.
But Betancourt hopes to return next Thursday or Friday. Betancourt will face hitters Friday afternoon at Nationals Park. Escalona, who is due back in five days, threw a smooth 25-pitch bullpen session Thursday.
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.