Veteran reliever Betancourt DFA'd by Rockies

Veteran reliever Betancourt DFA'd by Rockies

DENVER -- Rafael Betancourt, one of the most accomplished relievers in Rockies history, saw his tenure and more than likely his 12-season Major League career end when the club designated him for assignment Sunday morning.

Betancourt, 40, overcame missing last season because of Tommy John surgery to make the team out of Spring Training. He started solidly before struggling, posting a 2-4 record with one save and a 6.18 ERA in 45 appearances. He also leaves fifth on the club's list in saves with 58, and sixth in appearances with 309 after arriving from the Indians to help propel the Rockies to their last playoff appearance, in 2009.

"This happens when you don't do the job and the team is expecting something else," said Betancourt, who debuted with the Indians on July 13, 2003, and pitched his entire career without being optioned to the Minors. "You're not able to do it. I understand that situation and I'm fine with it.

"I always respect people here. They treat me with ... I don't have any words to say how much respect I have for the Colorado Rockies. I saw this coming."

The Rockies, with a tired and struggling bullpen, also optioned right-hander Justin Miller to Triple-A Albuquerque. They recalled righty Jairo Diaz, the hard-thrower they received from the Angels for infielder Josh Rutledge last winter, and selected the contract of righty Simon Castro, who appeared briefly with the White Sox in 2013 but missed last season because of Tommy John surgery.

Manager Walt Weiss said he was impressed with the fact Betancourt earned a spot on this team. Not only was he coming off the surgery at an advanced age, but it was his second. He had it in 2002 while coming up with the Indians.

"To be honest with you, going into Spring Training I thought there was very little chance that we'd see him in a big league game this year, and he not only did that, but he had a great spring and played a major role for the entire season," Weiss said. "That was a conversation to have, with a guy like that.

"He's been a warrior, been a great leader. I tell you what, he's got a lot to be proud of when he looks back at his career. Hopefully, there's an opportunity in the last month with another club."

If a team wants to take a flyer on Betancourt, he'll be at his home in Orlando, Fla., but he's not holding his breath.

"I always like to be honest with myself," he said. "I'm 40 years old. I wasn't pitching well. I don't see any team that's a contender right now that is looking to do that."

Betancourt signed with the Red Sox in 1994 as a shortstop and was converted to a pitcher three years later.

"My whole career, I had people to help me to get to this point," he said. "It wasn't myself at all. That's why every time I came to the stadium, it was another day to show people I deserve to be here. That's what I did. That's why I'm very happy. I don't feel sad at all.

"If this is the end, I'll take it. This is what I tell other guys. It's a long career, but it can be a short one, too, if you don't put up what you need to put up every day."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.