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Bettis pitching way toward late-inning role

Bettis pitching way toward late-inning role

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies second-year right-hander Chad Bettis has not only put himself in prime consideration for an Opening Day roster spot, but he has manager Walt Weiss thinking about using him late in games.

Bettis put forth his seventh straight scoreless outing of the spring during Friday's 14-3 loss to the Indians at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. He entered in the seventh, and leadoff man Elliot Johnson reached on a fielding error by second baseman Rafael Ynoa. But Bettis forced a Mike Aviles double-play grounder and struck out Bryan LaHair.

There could be room for Bettis late in the game.

Beyond veteran closer LaTroy Hawkins, the right-handed setup situation could be fluid. Matt Belisle and Wilton Lopez are coming off struggles in 2013, and Belisle has had some rough spring outings, although he is admittedly experimenting. But Bettis' power fastball and changeup, with the occasional slider mixed in, is a repertoire that could work in the late innings.

"He has a good arm, his delivery is intact and you see some good results because of that," Weiss said. "When you've got that much power, those guys tend to gravitate toward the back end of the game."

Righty Tommy Kahnle, a Rule 5 pick from the Yankees, also had a scoreless inning Friday, lowering his spring ERA to 1.17.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. 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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