Bettis inches closer after latest rehab start

Rockies right-hander Chad Bettis completed another step in his journey back to the big leagues Thursday, working his way up to 84 pitches in a Minor League rehab appearance.

Bettis tossed 5 2/3 innings for the Pacific Coast League's Albuquerque Isotopes against the Triple-A Round Rock Express, who won, 6-1. He allowed five runs (three earned) on eight hits, including a solo homer, and a pair of walks and struck out five.

This was Bettis' fifth Minor League outing and third start for the Isotopes. He posted a 5.93 ERA with 15 strikeouts against seven walks through 18 1/3 innings with Triple-A Albuquerque and Double-A Hartford. He's likely to pitch in the Minors once more before rejoining the Rockies.

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Bettis last pitched for Colorado on Sept. 30. He left the club in Spring Training to undergo chemotherapy when he learned his testicular cancer had spread. The 28-year-old went 14-8 with a 4.79 ERA in his first season as a full-time starter last year.

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.