Results tagged ‘ Rafael Betancourt ’

Betancourt taking more time; Street improving

Rockies right-handed reliever Rafael Betancourt, who fell behind in his season preparation because of an illness, has suffered another slight setback — stiffness in his right shoulder.

Betancourt, the eighth-inning setup man, threw a live batting practice session on Wednesday but the shoulder tightened. He’s hoping to play catch on Saturday. No word on when he’ll be available for Cactus League action.

“We’re going to go on his timetable, not on our timetable,” Rockies pitching coach Bob Apodaca said.

Rockies right-handed closer Huston Street, who also has experienced tightness in his right shoulder, has thrown on flat ground the last two days, will play catch Saturday and could throw from the mound on Sunday, Rockies head trainer Keith Dugger said.

Betancourt, Hawpe delay Cactus League debuts

Rockies right-handed reliever Rafael Betancourt was scratched from his scheduled appearance in Thursday’s Cactus League opener against the D-backs at Tucson Electric Park. There isn’t an injury. It’s just that Betancourt lost three weeks of season preparation because of a virus.

Betancourt said he became ill just after Christmas, and didn’t work out until going to Denver for his preseason physical Jan. 19. He dropped about 10 pounds. After the visit to Denver, Betancourt went to Jacobs Field in Cleveland — he was with the Indians his entire Major League career until being traded to the Rockies last July — to continue season preparation.

There is no other physical issue, Betancourt said. But he wants to face hitters at least twice more before entering game competition.

“The first time I faced a hitter was Saturday,” Betancourt said. “I feel like I need a little bit more to be able to pitch in a game.

“I told the pitching coach [Bob Apodaca] I want to go step-by-step. If I pitch the first game, I don’t feel I’m doing that. It’s like I’m rushing everything. This is Spring Training. I have to be real smart.”

The Rockies will have left-handed starter Jorge De La Rosa pitch two innings Thursday. Right-hander Jason Hammel is scheduled to start and throw two innings.

Also, right fielder Brad Hawpe reported that the infection in an ingrown toenail on his left foot has subsided to the point that he can begin baseball activities on Monday. Hawpe said it’s likely he will miss at least the first couple of days of Cactus League games, but he will be fine.

Matt Capps a possible target

An interesting bullpen target has emerged for the Rockies — former Pirates closer Matt Capps. Rockies manager Jim Tracy helped mold Capps into a closer.

Capps’ agent said there is “mutual interest” between the Rockies and Capps, but about nine teams are interested.

Capps is available because the Pirates non-tendered him in a surprise move on Saturday night. The move was contract-driven, The Pirates didn’t want to risk losing an arbitration case and paying a high dollar figure. But Capps didn’t show the fastball command he showed in past seasons.

However, Capps didn’t lose any velocity, so the belief is he is capable of regaining past effectiveness. With the Rockies already set with Huston Street as closer and having some good arms in setup roles — Rafael Betancourt, Manuel Corpas and Franklin Morales — Capps would not be under ninth-inning pressure.

It could be a good fit. However, dollars will be a huge factor. Other teams have roles later in the game, and could outbid the Rockies.

Betancourt to take his time … Multiyear deal possible?

Players have until midnight tonight to accept or reject arbitration offers from their teams, and we’re hearing that Rockies righty reliever Rafael Betancourt may take until the last minute. His representatives are talking with four or five teams that are interested, but any team that signs him will have to give up an early pick in the 2010 Draft because Betancourt is a Type A free agent.

It’s been reported that Betancourt rejected a two-year deal from the Rockies. We hear today that he “temporarily” rejected the Rockies’ offer. It’s not beyond the realm of possibility that Betancourt ends up with the Rockies’ multi-year offer.

Reports: Betancourt will stay

Tracy Ringolsby and Jon Paul Morosi of are reporting that righty Rafael Betancourt will accept the Rockies’ arbitration offer. The Brewers emerged as a team that had interest, but were scared off by the fact they’ll have to compensate the Rockies with an early pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. Betancourt is a Type A free agent.

The Draft is never far from the Rockies’ minds

The Rockies’ decision to offer free-agent right-hander Rafael Betancourt came as no surprise. Offering right-handed starter Jason Marquis arbitration could be considered one. But, remember how the Rockies were built.

Certainly, the Rockies could end up paying Betancourt $5 million if he accepts, but the club understands that it might have to open the checkbook a little for a proven righty reliever. However, if he rejects, the Rockies will get a first- or second-round choice in 2010 from the club that signs him, and will receive a compensation choice, often called a “sandwich pick,” between the first and second rounds.

Marquis is seeking a big-dollar, multi-year contract, so rejecting arbitration is the likely route. If that deal isn’t out there, he can still negotiate with the Rockies.

Marquis is a Type B free agent, which means the Rockies will receive a sandwich pick. Considering that in many important games the last three years the entire starting team was either drafted or signed by the club, that’s no small issue. It’s how the Rockies can maintain a competitive club despite a tight payroll.

Rox decline Betancourt’s option but talks still open

The Rockies have turned down the $5 million option for 2010 for right-handed pitcher Rafael Betancourt, but will continue to negotiate toward a deal. The Rockies could be covered if they don’t re-sign him, however. If they offer him arbitration and he signs elsewhere, they’ll receive two early picks in the 2010 MLB First-Year Player Draft because he is a Type A free agent.

Street set to pitch … if something goes wrong

This is the day that right-handed reliever Huston Street is supposed to return to action, but manager Jim Tracy said there’s a good chance it won’t happen.

Tracy doesn’t want Street’s first action to be in a close game. But with the Rockies starting righty Ubaldo Jimenez and the D-backs going with Dan Haren, it’s likely to be a cloe, low-scoring game.

“I’d like to see the game be somewhat one-sided, one way or the other to try this out,” Tracy said.

Tracy added that Street didn’t look bad in Friday afternoon’s simulated game, but he was not as sharp as he would need to be in a close game. How long will it take for him to regain the sharpness? Tracy said it may take as litle as one game.

But once Street is determined ready, expect him to be moved back into the closer role, with lefty Franklin Morales becoming a key setup man.

One question for Sunday was the availability of righty setup man Rafael Betancourt, who was dealing with soreness in his right calf. Tracy said he was relieved the problem wasn’t with hit right groin. While with the Indians, before being traded to the Rockies in July, Betancourt missed six weeks with a groin strain.

The value of knowing your role

We’ll see if Rafael Betancourt is the eighth-inning answer for the Rockies. But at least he knows the question, so to speak.

Betancourt, acquired from the Indians on Thursday for Minor League pitcher Connor Graham, joined the Rockies on Friday for the big series with the Giants. Beyond some TV footage and an Interleague series past, Rockies manager Jim Tracy knows little of Betancourt. But Tracy knows Betancourt knows what he needs to know to fill a primary setup man in place of Manuel Corpas, who underwent surgery to remove a bone chip from his right elbow.

“He knows what he’s doing,” Tracy said. “He’s going to make you beat him with the bat. This guy has never been a guy that creates opportunity for the other team by walking people. He’s a strike-thrower, throws very hard, and has all the things that are necessary.

“Being a strike-thrower, for me that’s the most important thing when you get down to the last six outs of the game.”

Betancourt, 34, who broke in with the Indians in 2003 and didn’t pitch for anyone else, sounded shocked after learning of the trade on Thursday. The blank stare was gone Friday. He was accepted within the expanding Venezuelan corner of the ballclub. He knew veteran catcher Yorvit Torrealba and fellow relievers Juan Rincon and Franklin Morales already. It turns out young outfielder Carlos Gonzalez and freshly called-up pitcher Jhoulys Chacin grew up within a bout a 10-minute radius of where Betancourt grew up.

And a look at the standings, with the Rockies a game ahead of the Giants in the National League Wild Card race and facing them in a three-game series starting Friday night, made Betancourt feel even more at home.

“It’s a weird feeling, the first time this has happened to me, but I’m just excited to be here,” he said. “All these years I’ve been watching trades that are made. it’s happened to me now. I always wondered how it feels to get traded to a team in the pennant race. It’s vey special.”

— The Rockies designated righty releiver Ryan Speier for assignment. Speier, who is out of Minor League options, was activated from the disabled list earlier this week but had not pitched. Speier said it was simply that a more experienced reliever was available.

The Rockies are hoping Speier clears waivers and can be assigned to Triple-A Colorado Springs.

— Tracy said Corpas’ surgery went well enough that the team will wait two weeks to see how the elbow heals, then hopefully proceed with rehab.