Rockies pitcher Chad Bettis diagnosed with testicular cancer

DENVER (AP) Colorado Rockies right-hander Chad Bettis hopes to be back on the mound for spring training after being diagnosed with testicular cancer.

Bettis said in a statement that he underwent surgery on Nov. 29 to have a testicle removed after bloodwork revealed an abnormality. Bettis added that doctors are confident the cancer was isolated and hasn't spread.

''I was completely caught off guard by my diagnosis, but have subsequently found that the vast majority of cases occur in men 20 to 40 years of age, and that the survival rate is 99 percent when contained and caught early,'' Bettis said in the statement released through his agent, Matt Sosnick. ''This only reinforces my belief that each of us needs to be totally in tune with our own physical health, and that taking action sooner than later when we feel like something is off can sometimes literally be the difference between life and death.''

The news was first reported by ESPN. The Rockies wished him well on the team's Twitter account as he works toward a return for spring training in February.

''My understanding is that I will be physically ready to have a normal spring training, and I greatly look forward to the upcoming season,'' Bettis said. ''The Rockies and the MLBPA have been great, and I truly appreciate the care and support shown by (general manager) Jeff Bridich to both me and my family.''

The 27-year-old Bettis was 14-8 with a 4.79 ERA last season. He figures to be an integral part of the 2017 starting rotation under first-year Colorado manager Bud Black.

Bettis was a second-round pick by the Rockies in 2010.

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