Chad Bettis thought he beat cancer this winter. The Colorado Rockies starting pitcher, who had one of his testicles removed in November, said he was “cancer-free” in January. But after a biopsy last week, Bettis learned that cancerous cells still exist and have spread.
Bettis said Friday he will undergo chemotherapy “very soon” to again fight testicular cancer.
“It’s unfortunate and it sucks, honestly,” he said. “But it was something that at that inital point in time going through everything it was kind of like, ‘We might have to go through this anyways.'”
Although this was a setback, Bettis sounded optimistic when he spoke about the chances of curing the disease.
“It’s in the 90-plus percent cure rate,” Bettis said. “It’s something that’s really high. I think that just after surgery it was being proactive in the sense of whether or not I needed to go through something like this. Knowing that we caught it early, like I said, the blood tumor markers being nondetectable and everything being normal is huge. We caught this early, and it’s a big thing.”
Bettis, 27, went 14-8 with a 4.78 ERA last season. He led the Rockies in innings pitched with 186. He figured to be a big part of the Rockies’ starting rotation this year, but it’s now unclear if he’ll be able to play at all. That leaves two holes in Colorado’s rotation behind Jon Gray, Tyler Anderson and Tyler Chatwood.
Chatwood, who’s one of Bettis’ closest friends on the team, said that pitching is an issue that needs placed on the back burner as Bettis fights cancer.
“I found a out a couple days ago,” Chatwood said. “Just being able to talk to him, he was very optimistic about how it could be handled. I think it has a pretty high cure rate. So luckily they caught it early enough. He needs to focus on that and get healthy.”
Bettis will undergo treatment in Arizona, where the Rockies are going through spring training. He agreeed with what Chatwood said, while adding that he’d like to be back on the field in 2017 if possible.
“It’s on the back burner now,” he said. “I’ve got to get this beat and get it out of me. But it’s also still driving me to get back out there optimistically this year. We’ll see how everything goes from here.”
Bettis was scheduled to pitch in Colorado’s spring training game Friday night. German Marquez will pitch in his place.
“That’s a hard situation to be put in,” catcher Tony Wolters said. “Baseball is already a hard life. He has a lot of things going on. A lot of us are praying. He knows we’re here for him. That’s tough news. He’ll get past it and be OK.”
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