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Rafael Jose Betancourt (born April 29, 1975) is a Venezuelan former professional baseball relief pitcher. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Cleveland Indians and Colorado Rockies, as well as in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) for the Yokohama BayStars.

Rafael Betancourt
Rafael Betancourt 63 Pitching.jpg
Betancourt with the Colorado Rockies
Pitcher
Born: (1975-04-29) April 29, 1975 (age 44)
Cumaná, Sucre State, Venezuela
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
July 13, 2003, for the Cleveland Indians
Last MLB appearance
August 22, 2015, for the Colorado Rockies
MLB statistics
Win–loss record38–37
Earned run average3.36
Strikeout724
NPB statistics
Win–loss record1–2
Earned run average4.08
Strikeouts16
Teams

Contents

CareerEdit

Boston Red SoxEdit

He was originally signed as an amateur free agent by the Boston Red Sox in September 1999. The Red Sox released him following the 1999 season and then re-signed him as a free agent in December 2000 after he spent the 2000 season with the Yokohama BayStars. He was granted free agency again in October 2001, after serving the required time to acquire free agency.

Cleveland IndiansEdit

 
Pitching with the Indians in 2009

After sitting out the 2002 season he signed with the Cleveland Indians as a minor league free agent and made his Major League debut for the Indians on July 13, 2003 against the Chicago White Sox. He pitched in 33 games for the Indians, registering an ERA of 2.13.

In 2004, Betancourt went 5-6, his first full season in the Majors.

On July 8, 2005 he became the sixth Major League player to be suspended for testing positive in steroids testing.[1] He went on to appear in 54 games.

In 2006, Betancourt's ERA grew a full run higher than his previous season. Betancourt's best season was in 2007, as he registered career bests in ERA, Innings pitched and walks allowed.

On January 23, 2008, he signed a new two-year contract with the Indians with a club option for 2010.[2]

Colorado RockiesEdit

On July 22, 2009, Betancourt was traded to the Colorado Rockies for minor league pitcher Connor Graham. His $5.4 million club option was declined at the end of the season, making him a free agent. Betancourt qualified as a Type A free agent, and was offered arbitration by the Rockies.

On December 7, 2009, Betancourt accepted the arbitration offer from the Rockies, returning to the team from free agency.[3][4]

After numerous seasons being a set up man, Betancourt was given the closer role in 2012, saving 31 games for the Rockies.

On August 22, 2013, Betancourt suffered a season-ending injury to his elbow.[5]

On April 25, 2014 Betancourt signed a new minor league deal with the Rockies.[6]

On January 30, 2015, Betancourt signed a minor league contract to remain with the Rockies.[7]

On August 23, 2015, Betancourt was designated for assignment.[8] He was released 4 days later.

Betancourt announced his retirement from baseball on February 26, 2016.[9]

Pitching styleEdit

His best pitches were a 90–94 MPH four-seam fastball, and a slider which was often mistakenly called a slurve. He also threw a changeup. Although he was not classified as a strikeout pitcher, Betancourt got more than his share by throwing a significant number of strikes. He was a converted shortstop with a metal plate and six screws in his pitching elbow.

Betancourt was known in some circles for his odd windup. He constantly tapped his foot on the rubber before coming set with a runner on base. He would constantly move his hands around and then tug on his baseball cap (sometimes doing it nine times) prior to throwing the next pitch. This was among the longest windups in the league. There is a rule to avoid unnecessary delays which states that if a pitcher takes at least 12 seconds to deliver a pitch, the pitch is automatically ruled a ball. Betancourt was one of the few pitchers who have had this rule enforced while pitching.[10]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Players suspended under baseball's steroids policy". espn.com. June 7, 2006. Retrieved July 20, 2007.
  2. ^ Castrovince, Anthony (January 23, 2008). "Betancourt earns raise from Tribe Reliever tied for American League lead in holds in 2007". MLB.com. Archived from the original on May 13, 2008. Retrieved November 24, 2008.
  3. ^ Renck, Troy. Betancourt accepts Rockies’ arbitration offer, Denver Post. Published December 7, 2009. Retrieved December 8, 2009.
  4. ^ Harding, Thomas. Betancourt accepts arbitration from Rockies Archived 2009-12-12 at the Wayback Machine, MLB.com. Published December 7, 2009. Retrieved December 8, 2009.
  5. ^ http://blogs.denverpost.com/rockies/2013/08/22/rafael-betancourt-injures-elbow-likely-lost-for-season/15463/
  6. ^ http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/04/25/rafael-betancourt-re-signs-with-the-rockies/
  7. ^ Todd, Jeff (January 30, 2015). "Rockies Sign Rafael Betancourt, Omar Quintanilla". mlbtraderumors.com. Retrieved January 31, 2015.
  8. ^ http://www.denverpost.com/rockies/ci_28689496/rafael-betancourt-designated-assignment-rockies-retool-bullpen. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ http://www.cbssports.com/fantasy/baseball/news/rafael-betancourt-announces-retirement/
  10. ^ Castrovince, Anthony (July 4, 2007). "Notes: Betancourt methodical on mound". MLB.com. Archived from the original on March 10, 2012. Retrieved May 7, 2010.

External linksEdit