SAN DIEGO -- Rockies manager Walt Weiss is keeping the door open for right-handed closer Rafael Betancourt to compete for a Major League job next season. Betancourt had 57 saves, fifth-most in club history, from 2009 until he suffered an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery last year.
Betancourt, who turns 40 next April 29, signed a Minor League deal with the Rockies and worked his way to Triple-A Colorado Springs, but was not called up to finish the season because he hadn't progressed to throwing consecutive days.
Before the injury-filled 2013 season, Betancourt was a key veteran leader in the bullpen. It's possible Betancourt and righty closer LaTroy Hawkins, who has a mutual option for 2015, could give the Rockies two 40-plus relievers next season. If Betancourt is interested in continuing, and he has never hinted at retirement, Weiss would like to see about bringing him back. Betancourt is eligible for free agency.
"Just on makeup alone, I like what he brings from that standpoint," Weiss said.
Betancourt said he doesn't know what the Rockies' official plan is -- Weiss and club officials will meet after the season to discuss their offseason strategy -- but he is already planning for 2015.
"Of course I'll come back to pitch -- that's why I had the surgery," Betancourt said Tuesday. "I've already started my offseason workout.
"I understand the situation [at the end of this season]. Maybe it was too early for me to pitch, but I know I can do it. I'm going to keep preparing myself."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.