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Betancourt willing to pitch through pain

Betancourt willing to pitch through pain

DENVER -- Manager Jim Tracy noted that right-handed setup man Rafael Betancourt hasn't said a word about the groin injury that he had returned from two weeks before the Indians traded him to the Rockies.

But asked about it, Betancourt admitted some of the discomfort won't leave until he rests. But he is in no mood for that.

Betancourt has been an important bridge to closer Huston Street. Since Betancourt arrived in exchange for Minor League pitcher Connor Graham on July 23, he and Street have appeared in the same game eight times.

The Rockies have won all of those. The Rockies hope to get to the two hot relievers Saturday night, when they face the Giants in the second game of a four-game set at Coors Field. The Giants' 6-3 victory Friday narrowed the Rockies' lead over them in the National League Wild Card standings to one game.

"It's not 100 percent healthy, and I have to deal with that," Betancourt said. "I don't know exactly how it happened. I had pain for a couple of days and the tendon exploded. But I came back in six weeks, and I got traded two weeks later.

"I was thinking the new team needed me, so I can take care of myself until the end of the year. The important thing is I can go and pitch. After the game, then I do what I have to, so I can pitch the next day."

Maybe everyone should pitch with a shaky groin tendon.

All Betancourt has done since the trade is throw 12 scoreless appearances and strand six of the eight runners he has inherited. He has 13 strikeouts against two walks.

Betancourt, 34, said pitching through the pain might have increased his level of mental toughness. His groin isn't a concern when he enters a game.

"I know my time is going to come to pitch," Betancourt said. "So when I go to the mound, I know I'm going to get one or two or three outs. I just go with my best pitches. It's helping me throw the ball where I want."

Pitching matchup
COL: LHP Jorge De La Rosa (11-8, 4.58 ERA)
In his last start, De La Rosa pitched 5 2/3 solid innings against a hot-hitting Marlins team to pick up his 11th win of the season. The left-hander allowed just one unearned run on seven hits while striking out three to improve to 8-1 over his past 10 starts. De La Rosa has had success against the Giants once this season, picking up a win and holding San Francisco to two runs over 7 1/3 innings on July 25.

SF: RHP Joe Martinez (3-1, 4.76 ERA)
Martinez has won two of his three starts despite never having pitched more than five innings. In his last outing, at New York, he surrendered one run and five hits in five innings and owed a 3-1 lead before being removed for a pinch-hitter. Martinez lacks overpowering velocity but has shown that he possesses enough zip on his sinkerball to retire big league hitters. This will be Martinez's first appearance against Colorado.

Tidbits
After going 3-for-15 on the Rockies' just-completed road trip, first baseman Todd Helton went 3-for-5 Friday night. It was his team-leading 38th multi-hit game this season. ... Rockies manager Jim Tracy lifted right fielder Brad Hawpe after three at-bats Friday, simply to have a double-switch that helped end up saving the bullpen. Even though Aaron Cook left with an injury in the fourth, the Rockies did not have to use their main late relievers -- lefty Franklin Morales and righties Matt Daley, Betancourt and Street. ... Seth Smith belted a pinch-hit home run Friday night, his 10th of the season. He is batting .452 (14-for-31) as a pinch-hitter this season.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• FSN, MLBN

On radio
• KOA 850

Up next
• Sunday: Rockies (Ubaldo Jimenez, 11-9, 3.41) vs. Giants (Tim Lincecum, 12-3, 2.37), 1:10 p.m. MT
• Monday: Rockies (Jason Marquis, 14-8, 3.58) vs. Giants (Barry Zito, 8-11, 4.26), 6:40 p.m. MT
• Tuesday: Rockies (Jason Hammel, 8-7, 4.54) vs. Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw, 8-7, 2.96), 6:40 p.m. MT

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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