On Jan. 30, 2015, I wrote the following phrase in this very space regarding the Colorado Rockies' free-agent signing of Rafael Betancourt:
These days, Betancourt is the one doing the laughing.
A signing that was no more than an expected afterthought has, with the "it's very early" caveat, been the single most important addition to the Rockies' revamped bullpen. After earning the save in Colorado's 2-0 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Monday, Betancourt's season line looks every bit like one we would have seen from the "young," chipper 34-year-old acquired from the Cleveland Indians in 2009:
Innings pitched: 4.0
Runs allowed: 0
Hits allowed: 0
Walks allowed: 0
Betancourt has struck out half the batters he has faced and has yet to allow a single baserunner. What's just as encouraging is that his fastball velocity is right back to where it was prior to the Tommy John surgery Betancourt underwent in August of 2013. And his command, which is usually the last thing a pitcher regains after that operation? Superb, as always. No pitcher in Rockies history has been able to hit his spots more consistently than Betancourt. Six grueling seasons and a major elbow surgery later, he's still doing it. And doing it better than ever.
How can you not love this guy? Never leave us, Raffy. I'm sorry I laughed at you. I didn't mean it. But if it's stuff like that statement that is allowing you to do what you're doing, I'm glad I wrote it.
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