Rockies designate RHP Rafael Betancourt for assignment
DENVER (AP) Rafael Betancourt arrived at Coors Field expecting to be on the team plane to Atlanta after Sunday’s game.
He soon discovered he might have hit the end of the road with the Colorado Rockies – and baseball.
Betancourt has been designated for assignment by the Rockies, possibly signaling the end of the right-hander’s 11-year major league career.
”I don’t have any hard feelings. I don’t feel sad at all,” he said. ”If this is the end, I’ll take it.”
In a corresponding move, Colorado purchased the contract of right-hander Simon Castro from Triple-A Albuquerque. The Rockies also recalled right-hander Jairo Diaz and optioned reliever Justin Miller to the Isotopes.
Betancourt, 40, was 2-4 with one save and a 6.18 ERA in 45 appearances this season. He joined the Rockies in a trade with Cleveland in 2009 and helped the team reach the playoffs that season after going 3-1 with a 1.78 ERA in 29 games with Colorado.
He has been with Colorado since and has 58 saves, fifth in franchise history.
Betancourt was originally signed by Boston out of Venezuela in 1993 and started his minor league career in 1997. He signed a minor league deal with Cleveland 2003 and made his major league debut on July 13 of that year.
He helped the Indians reach the AL Championship Series in 2007 before they lost to the Red Sox in seven games.
He didn’t pitch in 2014 after undergoing Tommy John surgery in September 2013. He signed a minor league contract with Colorado in January and made the team out of spring training.
”Going to spring training, I thought there was very little chance that we’d see him in a big league game this year,” Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. ”He not only did that, he had a great spring and made our club and played a major role for the entire season.”
Betancourt had a good start to this season before vertigo landed him on the 15-day disabled list on June 7. He returned on June 26 and posted a 0.90 ERA in 10 games in July. His ERA ballooned to 11.25 in August, and with the Rockies in last place in the NL West, they decided to cut ties with the veteran to get an extended look at two prospects.
”That’s a tough conversation to have with a guy like that,” Weiss said. ”He’s a great warrior, a great leader. He’s got a lot to be proud of in his career. Hopefully it’s an opportunity for him in the last month with another club.”
Betancourt isn’t optimistic he will get another shot this year.
”I always like to be honest with myself. I’m 40 years old, I wasn’t pitching good,” he said. ”If it happens I will be happy to do it, but if not I’m fine with it, too.
”My career, I gave everything I had every day. I can go out with my head high and say I tried my best. Baseball’s not going to stop.”
The Rockies also announced they reinstated reliever Brooks Brown from the 15-day disabled list and optioned him to Albuquerque.