DENVER (AP) — Chad Bettis was greeted with smiles and bear hugs in his return to Coors Field.
Bettis rejoined the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday after finishing treatment for testicular cancer last week in Arizona. He threw off flat ground and lifted weights prior to the opener of a two-game series against the Cleveland Indians.
“How do I feel to be back?” he said with a grin. “It feels great. Physically, I feel good. But I think this is way more mentally of a weight off my shoulders to be back with my teammates and brothers.”
The 28-year-old had surgery in November to remove a testicle and rejoined the team in February, but left again in March to get chemotherapy after doctors found the cancer had spread. He had surgery about a week ago to get his chemotherapy port removed.
Bettis called Tuesday a “light workout day” and said his arm “felt fresh.”
Bettis, a right-hander who went 14-8 with 4.79 ERA in 2016, said he hopes to return by the All-Star break, although he isn’t sure if that is realistic.
“I think that’s unfair to put a date on that,” Colorado manager Bud Black said. “Chad will do everything he’s capable of here in the next few weeks to get him closer to the mound, get him closer to the game. But as far as timeline, I think his strength and conditioning, his body will tell him what’s going on.”
Bettis said he has to get back into playing shape.
“I feel like the strength is there,” Bettis said. “I would say much more the stamina. Going through the chemo, I’ve realized what it can do to your lungs and stuff like that. And so I got to get that back. I felt myself a little short of breath today at the very end of throwing.”
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