The Colorado Rockies activated relief pitcher Rafael Betancourt from the 15-day disabled list on Friday and, in a corresponding move, optioned starter Juan Nicasio to Triple-A Colorado Springs.
Betancourt had a 3.20 ERA and 11 saves when he landed on the DL on June 1 with a strained right groin. The injury initially occurred on May 21 in the Rockies' 5-4 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. In three appearances after he was hurt, Betancourt allowed four earned runs on four hits and a walk in 2.1 innings.
Rex Brothers had been serving as the Rockies' closer in Betancourt's absence. Since assuming the role, Brothers has not allowed a run in 9.2 innings spanning 10 games. He has struck out 11, walked five and allowed four hits during that time. Despite Brothers' dominance, he'll likely return to an eighth-inning role with Betancourt resuming closing duties.
Juan Nicasio will pitch at the Triple-A level for the first time in his career after his ERA ballooned to 5.31 following a horrific start against the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday. Nicasio has failed to make it past six innings this season, though he has gone fewer than five innings only three times. Nicasio's ERA in June is 6.48.
The Rockies could have relegated Nicasio to the bullpen, where he profiles better and could serve as depth to a unit that sorely needs it right now. However, the demotion to Colorado Springs will allow him to work on secondary pitches -- as well as fastball command -- in a much less stressful environment.