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Bettis prefers starting, but enjoys relieving

Bettis prefers starting, but enjoys relieving

Bettis prefers starting, but enjoys relieving

DENVER -- Rockies right-hander Chad Bettis has said in interviews and to the Rockies' coaching staff he prefers starting, but he also has made it clear he enjoys pitching out of the bullpen.

A second-round Draft pick in 2010, Bettis went 0-3 with a 5.02 ERA in eight starts before being tried in the bullpen, where he entered Thursday afternoon's game with the Cardinals 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in three appearances.

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"In my career, long term, I would like to start, and I've had that discussion with Walt [Weiss, the manager], Jimmy [Wright, the pitching coach] and Bo [McLaughlin, the assistant pitching coach], but I enjoy both, so I guess that's a problem," Bettis said. "The thing is, I want to be in the position to help the team in whichever way."

Bettis, 24, pitched in relief for 17 of his 24 games at Texas Tech in his junior year of 2010, and finished with 102 strikeouts and 33 walks.

The Rockies are generally loathe to turn their backs on a power pitcher who could start. However, Bettis is more consistently at the 96-97 mph range on his fastball as a reliever, which leads to questions of whether his arm works better in that role. Bettis, however, said part of the reason he isn't that high on the radar gun as a starter is strategy.

"As a starter, I feel I have the ability to dial it up whenever I need to, but really it's about being more efficient -- getting movement, getting groundballs, quick innings," Bettis said. "Closing, I feel it's a little different. But it still comes back to trying to get strike one, getting ahead of the hitter."

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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