{}
CLOSE

Now Commenting On:

Betancourt faces hitters, inches toward game action

|
Betancourt faces hitters, inches toward game action play video for Betancourt faces hitters, inches toward game action

DENVER -- Former Rockies closer Rafael Betancourt, who is under a Minor League contract as he completes his return from Tommy John surgery last September, faced hitters for the first time on Friday and hopes to pitch for Rookie-level Grand Junction by July 1.

Betancourt threw 26 pitches to left-handed hitting Ryan Wheeler and right-handed hitting Kyle Parker on Friday, and is aiming to throw 30 pitches Monday. Barring any setbacks, Betancourt will throw one "live" batting practice session at Grand Junction before appearing in games.

The Rockies are tentatively planning for Betancourt to pitch at every level of the Minor League system and attempt to have him come back before the end of the year.

A comeback before the season is done is feasible, based on the fact that Cardinals reliever Jason Motte returned in May, a year and a few days after his Tommy John surgery. Betancourt's put-away pitch was his slider, which stresses the elbow. So since he has begun to throw bullpen sessions, Betancourt has been sticking with fastballs and changeups, and could return relying on the velocity difference and movement.

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.

{}
{}
Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español