Betancourt may ease back into closer's role

Betancourt may ease back into closer's role

DENVER -- Rafael Betancourt may not immediately take over closer duties for the Rockies upon his return, manager Walt Weiss said Wednesday.

Betancourt will make a rehab appearance with Triple-A Colorado Springs on Thursday after spending nearly a month on the 15-day disabled list because of an emergency appendectomy. He threw a simulated game earlier this week and should be activated this weekend.

But left-hander Rex Brothers has filled in admirably in place of Betancourt, as he did when Betancourt missed most of June with a right groin strain. Brothers has converted his last six save opportunities, creating a tough decision for Weiss.

"We'll see how [Betancourt's] rehab assignment goes and how he's feeling when he shows back up with his," Weiss said. "It's possible that I may ease him back into the closer role; I haven't made up my mind yet on that."

Asked if easing Betancourt in meant using him as a setup man out of the bullpen, Weiss said he was not exactly sure what the alternative plan would be for the right-hander.

"It's hard to say," Weiss said. "Sometimes the game dictates that, too, where I might need him to [be a setup man]. A lot of it has to do with how he feels going out on Thursday."

Brothers excelled as a setup man when Betancourt was healthy, so either way the Rockies should benefit from the return of a solid bullpen arm.

Ian McCue is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.