Rockies starter Chad Bettis was diagnosed with testicular cancer and underwent surgery in November. He was declared cancer-free in January, but the cancer came back and he underwent chemotherapy. As a result, he missed the first half of the season. He began a rehab assignment last month and worked his way all the way back to Monday night, his 2017 debut and long-awaited return to the majors.
Bettis faced the Braves, holding them scoreless over seven innings. He yielded six hits, walked none, and struck out two on 90 pitches. Mike Dunn relieved Bettis to start the eighth inning.
There was a poignant moment captured in the dugout after the top of the seventh between Bettis and manager Bud Black. Via Nick Griffith of Fox 31 Denver:
Unfortunately for Bettis, his offense couldn’t provide him any run support. He did not factor in the decision, but the Rockies scored three runs in the eighth to win, 3-0.
The Dodgers have pulled off their first blockbuster trade of the offseason, sending Brandon McCarthy, Scott Kazmir, Charlie Culberson, Adrian Gonzalez and cash considerations to the Braves for Matt Kemp, per announcements from both teams. The Braves are set to designate Gonzalez for assignment on Monday, making him a free agent.
Kemp, 33, had a down year with the Braves in 2017, hitting a career-low -0.5 fWAR in 115 games with the club. At the plate, he slashed a modest .276/.318/.463 with 19 home runs and a .781 OPS through 467 plate appearances, but was hampered by a nagging left hamstring strain through most of the season. This will be his 10th campaign with the Dodgers.
Whether or not Kemp can rebound during his second stint in Los Angeles is almost beside the point, however. The deal is effectively a salary dump to end all salary dumps. Offloading multiple one-year contracts for McCarthy, Kazmir and Gonzalez should bring the Dodgers back under the $197 million luxury tax threshold and position them to make a run at some of the big fish in next year’s free agent pool. It’s also worth noting that they may not keep Kemp around for long — per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, the club appears as likely to flip the veteran outfielder as they are to use him. As for the Braves, they not only rid themselves of the $43 million due Kemp through 2020, but added some rotation and infield depth with McCarthy and Culberson and can now give top prospect Ronald Acuna a legitimate tryout in left field.