4/25/2014 10:40 P.M. ET
Betancourt to continue injury rehab with Rockies
By Thomas Harding / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- As has been his plan since undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow last year, right-handed pitcher Rafael Betancourt has signed a Minor League contract with the Rockies.
Betancourt, who will turn 39 on Tuesday, will report to the team's training center at Scottsdale, Ariz., with the plan of beginning his road back when the Rookie League season opens at Grand Junction. Betancourt is hoping to make himself available to the Rockies for the stretch run this season.
The injury that led to the surgery occurred Aug. 22 at Philadelphia, and it was the end of a pain-filled year for Betancourt, who sustained a groin injury in May and an appendicitis attack not long after returning. He finished the year 2-5 with a 4.08 ERA and 16 saves.
Although he was eligible for free agency, Betancourt never considered another team. He met with the Rockies during the Winter Meetings -- which were in Orlando, Fla., where Betancourt has an offseason home -- to update his progress, and spent time working out with the Rockies during Spring Training and during the team's season-opening road trip in Miami.
The Rockies acquired Betancourt from the Indians for the stretch run in 2009, and he helped the team to the playoffs. His 264 relief appearances rank eighth in club history and he is fifth on the team's all-time saves list with 57.
Chacin progressing toward big league return
LOS ANGELES -- Rockies right-hander Jhoulys Chacin's right shoulder felt healthy and closer to sharpness after a 4 2/3-inning rehab performance for Triple-A Colorado Springs on Thursday night, head athletic trainer Keith Dugger said Friday.
Rockies manager Walt Weiss said the club has not determined if Chacin's next start will be with the Rockies, or again with Colorado Springs. If he continues the rehab assignment, and he can throw up to two more times, the next start will be Tuesday night at Memphis.
Chacin sustained the injury before even throwing a bullpen session in Spring Training, but he was shut down before the problem became worse. The Rockies consider Chacin at about at the stage of the last or next-to-last start of Spring Training.
Chacin threw 80 pitches over 4 2/3 innings, giving up five hits and four runs (two earned) for Colorado Springs against Iowa.
"He felt good, I talked to him this morning, and actually he threw all right, and he came out of the game with two guys on," Dugger said. "Health-wise, he felt real good and he felt he had better control. His offspeed was good, his changeup was good, and slider was probably the best his slider has been. He had a better feel for it."
Dugger said the next outing, wherever it is, will have no pitch restriction.
Reliever Martin reaches big leagues for first time
LOS ANGELES -- Right-hander Chris Martin's long, odd road to the Majors has resulted his first promotion to The Show. The Rockies purchased his contract on Friday and optioned righty Chad Bettis to Triple-A Colorado Springs.
Martin was 0-1 with an 8.22 ERA and three saves. But five of the seven runs he yielded (in 7 2/3 innings) scored during one of those wild games at Security Service Field, which can make Coors Field seem pitcher-friendly. Round Rock hit him for five runs and six hits in one inning on April 12 in a 16-12 Colorado Springs loss.
The Rockies selected Martin in the 2005 MLB First-Year Player Draft, but he sustained a shoulder injury in junior college, didn't sign and essentially retired from baseball. But before the 2010 season, he played catch with his manager at a warehouse where he was working, felt good, and ended up signing to play independent ball for Grand Prairie, Texas.
The Red Sox signed him after a tryout in 2011, and he advanced to Triple-A last season. The Rockies acquired him and left-hander Franklin Morales for infielder Jonathan Herrera on Dec. 18, 2013.
Martin went 1-0 with a 3.48 ERA in 10 1/3 innings over nine Spring Training games, and displayed power stuff from a tall frame. He is listed at 6-7.
"We talked about Chris a lot this spring," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "We really like him. It's a power arm. He had a tough outing in Colorado Springs, which anybody can have when the wind is blowing out. That skewed his numbers.
"We liked this guy all spring and we knew he'd be in the mix at some point this year."
To make room for Martin on the 40-man Major League roster, the Rockies placed lefty Brett Anderson on the 60-day disabled list with a broken left index finger. The placement was retroactive to April 13.
Bettis sent to Triple-A to refine command of pitches
LOS ANGELES -- Rockies righty reliever Chad Bettis' struggles with counts, which have led to some hard-hit balls at key times, resulted in his being optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs on Friday.
Bettis, sent down the day before his 26th birthday, was 0-1 with a 7.15 ERA in 11 1/3 innings over 11 games. On Wednesday, Bettis gave up an 11th-inning grand slam to the Giants' Hector Sanchez in a 12-10 loss. The homer came on the 10th pitch of an at-bat, with Sanchez sitting on a fastball, but the Giants had already loaded the bases against Bettis.
Manager Walt Weiss said Bettis, a second-round pick out of Texas Tech in 2007, still is being looked at as part of the team's late-inning future.
"This is an opportunity for Chad to go down and get his pitches in order," Weiss said. "He's a guy that we are looking at to put games away late. We feel like that's what he's going to be. That's his fit on this club. This gives him an opportunity to go down and get away from the high stakes of the Major Leagues and to work on some things."
The Rockies purchased the contract of righty Chris Martin from Colorado Springs. To make room for Martin, the Rockies placed lefty Brett Anderson (broken left index finger) on the 60-day disabled list, retroactive to April 13.
Cuddyer joins club on road trip
LOS ANGELES -- Rockies outfielder-first baseman Michael Cuddyer, who sustained a left hamstring injury on April 17, accompanied the team on its road trip, and reported not bad news or good news. Just no news.
"Every day kind of feels the same," said Cuddyer, batting .317 with three home runs and 10 RBIs in 16 games. "It's obviously not good to not have improvement, but, at the same time, it's not worse."
Cuddyer said he hasn't lost strength, but the catching sensation prevents him from running. When he first sustained the injury, he didn't expect to have to go to the DL, but at least he is happy the injury was limited to the ligament area and was not in the main part of the muscle.
Belisle looking for better pitch location
LOS ANGELES -- Rockies manager Walt Weiss said righty reliever Matt Belisle, who has been an up-and-down 0-2 with a 6.30 ERA, simply needs sharper command.
Belisle, 33, who gave up an eighth-inning leadoff home run to the Giants' Hector Sanchez in Wednesday afternoon's 12-10 loss, is learning to pitch with top fastball velocity that has dipped -- possibly because of his 313 appearances in the last four-plus seasons, including 11 this season. But the key is whether it's the fastball, sinker, changeup or slider, keeping it in a good location, Weiss said.
"Most of the time, it comes down to command," Weiss said. "You can't throw balls in the middle of the plate. I don't care who you are. If you throw 95 or above you can get a little more breathing room, but it's about command.
"I think the slider can be a put-away pitch for Matty. I've seen him get that slider to the back foot of left-handed hitters this year. I've seen him throw some real good ones. It's about consistency, and fastball command is a very good key for Matty, pitching to both sides of the plate. Pitching in with his fastball is key, too."
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.