Bettis hopes to clear hurdle in cancer battle

Bettis hopes to clear hurdle in cancer battle

DENVER -- Rockies right-handed pitcher Chad Bettis hopes to accelerate his return from testicular cancer if a CT scan Monday and a blood test Tuesday yield good news.

After three rounds of chemotherapy (three weeks per round), Bettis hopes to have the port through which the chemotherapy medicine was administered removed Wednesday, and once that heals, his comeback can begin in earnest.

"The family and I are doing great and can't wait to be back up in Denver. Ready to see the best fans in baseball," Bettis, 28, said in a text message Friday.

Bettis, who said he is "counting down the days," has been playing catch, but has yet to throw a full bullpen session. Last season, Bettis went 14-8 with a 4.79 ERA, including finishing 7-2 with a 3.75 ERA in his final 14 starts. He has emerged as a leader on a young pitching staff. From his home in Scottsdale, Ariz., he watches every game and communicates with the pitchers.

Bettis opened up about the battle Thursday in a story on FOXSports.com. He noted that the port was placed under his left clavicle, which allowed him to throw between treatments. Already, he has been playing catch at 75 feet, and he has increased his weight training and cardiovascular activity.

Bettis discovered he had cancer in November and underwent surgery to remove a testicle on Nov. 29. He reported to Spring Training, but in March he learned that the cancer had spread to his lymph nodes. From there, he underwent chemotherapy.

Worth noting

• Rockies right-hander Jon Gray, who fractured his left foot April 13, was cleared to shed his walking boot Thursday. He has thrown five bullpen sessions wearing the walking boot. His next bullpen session is scheduled for Sunday, but he is not sure if he will be allowed to throw it without the boot, which lessens landing impact.

• Catcher Tom Murphy, who hasn't played this season because of hairline fractures in his right wrist and forearm he suffered in Spring Training, threw to bases, did blocking drills and took batting practice Friday. He said he isn't sure when he will be cleared for a Minor League rehab assignment, but manager Bud Black said he is "close."

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. 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.