Rockies right-hander Chad Bettis underwent chemotherapy earlier this year to treat testicular cancer, but it doesn’t look as if that’s going to stop him from taking the mound in 2017. In terrific news, the 28-year-old has progressed enough in his recovery that he’s on pace to begin a minor league rehab assignment during the upcoming All-Star break, writes Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. “It’s a really good feeling to watch this unfold,” said manager Bud Black, whose playoff-contending team could use more rotation depth. Bettis would provide that, having served as a solid starter for the Rockies since joining their rotation on a full-time basis in 2015.
More from around the game:
- With home runs having spiked over the past couple seasons, Ben Lindbergh and Mitchel Lichtman of The Ringer concluded earlier this month that Major League Baseball is playing with a juiced ball. However, MLB insists that’s not the case. On Saturday, the league sent a memo to all 30 teams declaring that “there is no evidence that the composition of the ball has changed in any way,” reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today. The ball’s size, weight, COR (bounciness), seam height and circumference are tested at least three times a year at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell Baseball Research Center, according to the league. The exact cause for the HR increase is up for debate, but an all-time high 13.7 percent of fly balls have cleared fences this year. That’s up from 12.8 percent last season, which was a record at the time.
- Given the high frequency of pitcher injuries, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson believes teams will soon begin valuing durability over velocity, as Roger Rubin of Newsday writes. “I think what you’ll find over the next several years is clubs will be more interested in ‘pack horses’ instead of ‘thoroughbreds’ because it’s about being able to go out . . . and get 30 starts,” Alderson said Friday. There’s an emphasis on velocity at all levels, but Alderson noted that throwing harder “often leads to injury,” adding, “The things that might be the difference between good pitching and great pitching may also be the difference between health and an injury.”
- Jesse Hahn is tied for second among Athletics in starts (13), yet the team demoted him to Triple-A on Sunday. In response, Hahn told reporters (including John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle): “It’s a little frustrating. I thought I’d been having a really good season up until these last two starts. I don’t want to say it’s unfair because I understand it’s a business thing, but I don’t like that I was kind of judged off of two starts there.” Hahn’s ERA climbed from 3.56 to 5.30 thanks to those outings, both of which came against the formidable Astros. They racked up 15 earned runs over just four innings against Hahn. His trip to the minors will lead to more starts for rookie righty Paul Blackburn, whom the A’s acquired from the Mariners over the winter for Danny Valencia. Blackburn, 23, made his major league debut Saturday and held the Braves to three hits, a walk and an unearned run across six frames.