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Rockies move Bettis to relief role for now

Rockies move Bettis to relief role for now

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Rockies move Bettis to relief role for now

SAN FRANCISCO -- Rockies right-hander Chad Bettis showed a lively fastball in eight starts. But with the Rockies wanting to evaluate veteran starter Roy Oswalt, Bettis will finish the year in the bullpen.

Bettis, 24, reached 96 mph on his fastball in his last start and could potentially provide another tick or two in velocity in shorter stints. The Rockies actually considered Bettis for their late bullpen before last season, but he missed the year with a right shoulder injury that didn't require surgery.

A reliever, a starter or both during his career at Texas Tech before the Rockies made him a second-round pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, Bettis has expressed a preference for starting.

"I think you have to make the determination whether a guy is maybe more of a sprinter versus a guy who can go through a lineup three times in a row," manager Walt Weiss said. "Some of that comes down to mechanics, some of it comes down to mentality and some of it comes down to stuff.

"You put that all together and you make that determination. But with some guys it's not that easy and it's a tough call. You can make a case, certainly in Chad's case, you can make a case either way."

Weiss said the Rockies hope to make a decision in postseason meetings so Bettis will have a target.

One issue is need. This season has established Jhoulys Chacin, Jorge De La Rosa, Tyler Chatwood and Juan Nicasio as four-fifths of next year's rotation, barring trades or big-time veteran signings -- which the Rockies rarely make. They typically don't enter Spring Training with enough depth to afford to change a young, hard thrower's role.

Bettis entered in the sixth inning of Wednesday's 4-3 loss to the Giants and threw a perfect inning with one strikeout. His fastball hit 97 mph twice.

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.

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