SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies righty reliever Chad Bettis' first experience in the Majors last season produced some shining moments -- the 97-mph fastballs and the strong final three games: scoreless outings covering 2 2/3 innings, including solid innings in one-run victories over the Dodgers on Sept. 28 and 29.
But overall he was 1-3 with a 5.64 ERA in 16 games, the first eight of them starts. The Rockies determined that Bettis, 24, their second-round pick in 2010 out of Texas Tech, is better out of the bullpen and the life on his fastball supported that belief. But he also had a 9.00 ERA in relief.
Bettis now hopes to show how much he learned. What the Rockies believe will be a bright future -- some have tabbed him as a future closer -- will depend on how quickly he uses his experience to turn his talents into work that can be trusted late in games.
"That's a personal adjustment," Bettis said. "There are a lot of players, myself included, last year, [where] I needed to show that I belong up there. Now I feel that's different. I feel I do belong. Now it's how do we get better so that we can win every night."
Bettis believes he has the pitches, but needs to calmly work through game situations.
"Sometimes the game sped up on me. I needed to work on slowing everything down, especially in pressure situations," he said. "We really harped on all Spring Training and even up there, too, about keeping the ball down, moving it in and out and getting some ground balls. Keeping the ball down is good with ground balls, but also going inside for strikes with my fastball is going to be really good, as well. It's what I've been working on this offseason and I think it's going to really correlate.
"My changeup, I didn't really utilize it enough last year. I worked on my curveball and cutter more so than my change. Looking back at it, my changeup was my best pitch. This offseason I really feel like my fastball/changeup is my 1-2 punch now. I really worked on that pretty hard and got it to where I want it to go."