It’s been a rough few months for Colorado Rockies closer Rafael Betancourt.
After dealing with an appendicitis which sidelined him for a few weeks, Betancourt returned, only to suffer an elbow injury.
There was a feeling initially that the injury wasn’t that severe, but further evaluation showed that Betancourt had suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.
The Rockies closer met with team doctors who informed Betancourt that he would either need to retire or undergo Tommy John surgery as other treatment methods would not be helpful.
Betancourt, 38, said after a Tuesday night loss he did not plan to pursue surgery and instead planned to rehab the arm through platelet-rich-plasma treatment. But he told the Deportes Union Radio network Thursday he changed his mind after consulting with doctors.
“I took the decision last night, alongside doctors,” Betancourt said on the radio show Los Cronistas. “They told me there was little chance of recovery with current treatment.”
Because he did not initially plan to have the surgery, many expected that Betancourt had pitched his last Major League game. He was in his fifth year with the Rockies, his 11th in the big leagues, when he tore the ligament in an Aug. 22 loss to the Phillies.
But the surgery is a strong indication he plans to return to a big league mound.
“It would be sad to come to the end of my career this way, after all I’ve been through,” he said. “This motivates me to go on.”
Betancourt will miss all of the 2014 season and hopes to continue to play ‘a few more years’ starting in 2015.