The Rockies have agreed to a minor league deal with right-handed reliever Rafael Betancourt, the team announced on Friday.
Betancourt worked out with the team prior to the season but wasn't under contract, although it was pretty much inevitable that he was going to re-sign at some point. The 38-year-old former closer has traveled with the Rockies at various points this season and has been utilizing Salt River Fields at Talking Stick to aid in his recovery from Tommy John surgery, which he underwent last August. He'll now officially report there for extended spring training.
Raffy has long believed he will pitch this season, and that directly correlates with how well he's been progressing in his recovery. As far as that's concerned, the fact that the Rockies have already announced his signing and we're still in April is a pretty good sign. MLB.com's Thomas Harding wrote in March that Betancourt could begin a rehab assignment in June and pitch in the big leagues as soon as August. That appears to still be the case.
Since joining the Rockies in the middle of the 2009 season, Betancourt has a 3.08 ERA with 10.5 strikeouts and 1.7 walks per nine innings. His K/BB ratio of 6.25 ranks first in franchise history among pitchers who have thrown at least 200 innings, and his 57 saves rank fifth in club history.