MLB

Rockies extend Betancourt's contract

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DENVER (AP)

Rafael Betancourt has a new deal to go with his new role as Colorado's closer.

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The Rockies' right-handed reliever agreed Wednesday to an $8.5 million, two-year contract that guarantees him an additional $4.25 million.

The Venezuela native saved eight of nine games filling in for an injured Huston Street last August. The Rockies traded Street to San Diego in December.

Betancourt has never had a closer's job to start a season. He has 27 career saves and 141 holds for Cleveland (2003-09) and Colorado (2009-2011).

Betancourt said last week before the team's fan festival that he won't approach things any differently as a closer than when he was the Rockies' eighth-inning setup man.

''I treat it the same whether it's the seventh, eighth or ninth,'' Betancourt said, adding, ''It's fun because now I just have to get three outs for the team to have a chance to win the game.''

Last season, Betancourt went 2-0 with eight saves, 22 holds, a 2.89 ERA, 73 strikeouts and eight walks in 68 appearances for the Rockies. He held opponents to a .203 batting average, including .077 over the season's final two months, when he was one of the most dominant relievers in baseball.

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Among major league relievers with at least 25 appearances after the All-Star break, Betancourt led the NL in ERA, opponents' batting average, strikeout-to-walk ratio, hits allowed per nine innings (2.33) and base runners allowed per nine innings (2.67).

The 36-year-old was due $4 million this year under a contract agreed to last January, a deal that included a $4.25 million mutual option for 2013 with a $250,000 buyout. Under Wednesday's new deal, this year's salary is the same, 2013 becomes guaranteed at $4.25 million and a mutual option for 2014 is added with a $250,000 buyout.

His performance bonus for this year was changed to $200,000 for 55 games finished. In 2013 and 2014, if exercised, he can earn $50,000 each for 40 and 45 games finished, $150,000 for 50, $200,000 for 55 and $250,000 for 60.

Tagged: Rockies, Rafael Betancourt

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