Rockies pitcher Chad Bettis has setback in cancer battle

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) Colorado Rockies right-hander Chad Bettis is taking a break from baseball to undergo chemotherapy after discovering that his testicular cancer has spread.

The Rockies said Bettis, who had a testicle removed Nov. 29, would undergo cancer treatment ''over the next several weeks'' in Arizona. There is no timetable for his return.

''It's on the backburner now. I've got to get this beat and get it out of me,'' Bettis said Friday. ''But it's also what's still driving me, to get back out there optimistically this year. We'll see how everything goes and go from there.''

Bettis said his oncologist found inflamed lymph nodes during a routine checkup last week and a biopsy showed ''that my testicular cancer has unexpectedly spread, and I will begin a regimen of chemotherapy in the very near future.''

He added that while his blood tumor markers remain normal, ''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.''

Bettis, who turns 28 next month, was expected to be at or near the top of the Rockies' rotation this season after going 14-8 with a 4.79 ERA in 32 starts in 2016. He was a second-round pick by Colorado in 2010.

''It's unfortunate. It sucks, honestly,'' Bettis said. ''But it was something that at the point and time, initially going through everything, it was like we might have to go through it anyway. So the mind-set was kind of always there, maybe that I'd have to go through something like a round of chemo.''

Bettis and his wife, Kristina, are expecting a girl later this month. He's been overwhelmed by the backing of fans, the organization and especially his teammates.

''Everybody supported me, is there fighting with me,'' Bettis said.

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