Rockies will be evaluating rotation arms down stretch

Club could go to a six-man starting staff when Bettis returns from DL

Rockies will be evaluating rotation arms down stretch

DENVER -- With Chad Bettis nearing a return to the Rockies' rotation, Colorado will have an opportunity to evaluate many of its young arms together in the final six weeks of the regular season.

Bettis, who's been on the disabled list since July 19 with right shoulder inflammation, reported no major health issues on Saturday, and Rockies manager Walt Weiss acknowledged that the right-hander likely won't need another rehab start.

When Bettis does return, potentially on Tuesday in Atlanta, Colorado could go to a six-man rotation to finish out the year.

"It's possible, certainly for the month of September," Weiss said. "We've discussed that. We're closing in on that, so we'll see. When all the pieces get healthy, we've got to unscramble them."

After shifting back and forth between starter and reliever until this season, Bettis said it would be "huge" to finish out the year strong as an integral member of the Rockies' rotation.

Before his injury, Bettis was 5-4 with a 4.88 ERA, having surrendered three earned runs or fewer in 10 of his 13 starts.

"It's huge," Bettis said of the season's final stretch. "One, to show that I'm healthy again. Two, to show that I didn't miss a beat. It's going to be big."

In addition to Bettis, the last six weeks will give the Rockies one final look at a number of rotation candidates moving forward. Veteran Jorge De La Rosa, who has one more year left on a two-year, $25 million deal, is set in stone, but there is much to be sorted out after that.

Inexperienced pitchers Chris Rusin, Jon Gray and David Hale will have a chance to prove themselves, while injured candidates Jordan Lyles (toe) and Tyler Chatwood (Tommy John surgery) wait in the wings.

Eddie Butler and Tyler Matzek, both currently in the Minor Leagues, haven't been forgotten as well, and Jeff Hoffman -- the key piece in the Troy Tulowitzki deal -- could also be up with Colorado in 2016.

"As a starting rotation, we have to understand and figure out how we all work best together, because we've got to keep moving forward," Bettis said. "We can't go backwards, especially now."

Worth noting
Weiss said Kyle Kendrick, who was sent to the DL with right shoulder inflammation on Aug. 1, will soon be facing hitters, possibly on Sunday.

Dargan Southard is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.