Posted on March 10, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
Less than three weeks after being told he had beaten cancer, Colorado Rockies starter Chad Bettis has been told that the disease is back. Bettis was diagnosed with testicular cancer in November but given a promising prognosis. In late February, he announced that he was given a clean bill of health and would have a normal spring training. However, on Friday, Bettis announced that his cancer has unpredictably spread to other parts of the body, forcing him to undergo chemotherapy.
Bettis was scheduled to make his second start of spring training Friday night. Instead of preparing for his start, Bettis released a statement on Twitter announcing that his cancer is back.
“During my routine health checkup last week, my oncologist believed that he had seen inflamed lymph nodes and ordered an immediate biopsy. I learned this week that my testicular cancer has unexpectedly spread, and I will begin a regimen of chemotherapy in the very near future.
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“Although my blood tumor markers remain at normal levels, it’s clear that I need to be aggressive in my fight against this illness. Without being proactive, we wouldn’t have caught this. I am committed to beating this cancer. My family and I are grateful for the support of the Major League Baseball Players Association, the Rockies organization and you, the fans.”
Bettis spoke to the media Friday after releasing his statement, indicating that the chances of a full recovery are around 90%. Bettis said the diagnosis caught him off guard, as all of his blood tests have come back normal since undergoing surgery in November to address his cancer. It was the growth of his lymph nodes that allowed his doctors to discover that his cancer had spread.
“It’s unfortunate. It sucks, honestly,” Bettis told the media Friday. “But it was something at the point in time, initially going through everything, that we (knew we) might have to go through this anyway. So the mindset was kind of always there, that I might have to go through a round of chemo initially.”
Bettis will stop his normal spring routine while undergoing chemotherapy. There’s no timetable for his return, although the 27-year old remains optimistic and is hoping to pitch at some point in 2017.
“Experience tells me that you never really know the outcome of cancer and where it’s going to take someone,” Rockies manager Bud Black said Friday. “It’s a blow because Chad wants to play. He wants to pitch. But he knows what has to take place for him in the next few months to battle this and get back on a Major League field.”
Bettis led the Rockies with 14 wins last season, and as their oldest starting pitcher, he was expected to be the leader of a young and promising rotation in 2017. His absence will open up a spot in Colorado’s rotation.
Jon Gray, Tyler Chatwood, and Tyler Anderson are locks for the top three spots in the rotation, leaving two vacancies. The Rockies have a slew of talented pitching prospects to compete for the final two rotation spots. Jeff Hoffman, German Marquez, Kyle Freeland, and Antonio Senzatela are all options, as is veteran lefty Chris Rusin, who is currently nursing an oblique injury.
“You never know how these things will unfold. From our standpoint, we’ll have to make some adjustments,” says Black. “We feel good about what will happen. He will keep his chin up and his chest out and press forward.”
Bettis obviously has a tough fight ahead of him, but baseball is providing motivation for him to get better as soon as possible.
“I’ve got to get this beat and get it out of me, but it’s also what’s still driving me — to get back out there optimistically this year,” Bettis said. “We’ll see how everything goes and go from there.”
All of us at Sports Information Traders wish Chad a speedy recovery.