Colorado acquires reliever Betancourt from Indians
TORONTO (AP) -- Rafael Betancourt has watched teammates come and go during his tenure with the Cleveland Indians.
On Thursday, he was on the move.
The Cleveland Indians traded the reliable reliever to Colorado for minor league pitcher Connor Graham.
Betancourt, who has spent his entire seven-year career with Cleveland, learned of the deal following the Indians' 5-4 victory over the Blue Jays.
"I was here for a long time with this team and I have a lot of good friends here, front office, coaches, players," Betancourt said. "They've always been great to me. I can't say anything bad about it."
Set-up man Manny Corpas is expected to undergo surgery Friday to remove bone chips in his right elbow. The operation could sideline him for the season although he hopes to return in September.
"We thought it was a good gamble to take in light of the situation," Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd told The Associated Press.
The Rockies also plan to promote right-hander Jhoulys Chacin, the organization's top pitching prospect, from Double-A Tulsa, O'Dowd said. Chacin, who is expected to serve in a long-relief role, went 8-6 with a 3.14 ERA as a starter for the Drillers.
"We felt it was the appropriate time," O'Dowd said. "He's a very talented kid."
Betancourt will serve as closer Huston Street's set-up man.
"It's time for me to leave and go there and keep pitching and keep playing, try to help the team win games," Betancourt said. "It's a sad moment for me right now but I have to be a professional and keep playing."
In 29 appearances this season, Betancourt is 1-2 with a 3.52 ERA. The right-hander has given up 25 hits and struck out 32 in 30 2-3 innings.
Betancourt has been primarily a set-up man since joining the Indians in 2003. He had a 1.47 ERA in 68 games when the Indians made the playoffs in 2007.
"These things can happen. You never know when it's going to happen," Betancourt said. "I have to go there for the last two and a half months and help that team win."
The 34-year-old has been the Indians' most consistent reliever for the past month. The Indians held a $5 million club option for him in 2010 and did not want to pick it up.
"Looking at the market this season and next, we don't see $5 million as the right price for that kind of role in the bullpen," Indians general manager Mark Shapiro said.
With the July 31 deadline approaching, the disappointing Indians, who have the AL's worst record, have been taking calls from contending teams looking to make a deal. Shapiro refused to comment specifically on reports that Cy Young winner Cliff Lee and All-Star catcher Victor Martinez have been drawing interest.
"He's been a pretty solid pitcher for us for a while," Lee said of Betancourt. "He's going to be missed. I'm sure the organization is trying to make a move to make us better."
Lee said he's trying not to worry about the trade talk but acknowledged it can be a strain.
"If something's going to happen you want it to happen sooner rather than later and get it over with, make the adjustment and get there, get to a new team and keep going," Lee said.
Shapiro would like to add starting pitchers to his roster and said a bigger deal was possible. However, he added that the Indians would approach any possible trade with diligence.
"Our job on any player is to examine the market and decide whether it makes sense to make a deal or not," he said.
The 6-foot-7 Graham has spent the entire season with Class-A Modesto of the California League. The 24-year-old went 7-4 with a 3.14 ERA in 16 starts. Shapiro said the Indians will send Graham to Double-A Akron.