Rafael Betancourt nearing return to Rockies

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Rafael Betancourt hasn’t pitched since having an emergency appendectomy on July 20, but the Rockies closer is finally nearing a return from the disabled list.

Thomas Harding of MLB.com reports that Betancourt threw a simulated game Monday, with manager Walt Weiss saying afterward that “it went really well” and “the plan is for him to go out and pitch on Thursday.”

Thursday’s outing would be at Triple-A, so presumably if things continue to go well Betancourt could rejoin the Rockies by next week. Rex Brothers has thrived as the fill-in closer, but Betancourt was very good in the ninth-inning role before having his appendix removed.

Video: Pete Alonso hits home run no. 50

Pete Alonso
Getty Images
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Rookie first baseman Pete Alonso has launched what appears to be the beginning of an auspicious career, made all the more notable by the 50 home runs he’s produced for the Mets so far this season. The All-Star slugger pushed his home run streak to four straight games on Friday, collecting no. 50 on an eighth-inning fastball from the Reds’ Sal Romano.

It’s just the latest of a long line of accomplishments for the 24-year-old infielder. Entering Friday’s series opener against Cincinnati, the first-time All-Star carried a .266/.366/.590 batting line with a league-leading 49 homers, 113 RBI, a .956 OPS and 4.9 fWAR through 648 plate appearances. Among those who are still rounding out their rookie seasons in 2019, he ranks first in home runs and fWAR by a long shot: the White Sox’ Eloy Jiménez is second in home runs with 28 dingers, while the Astros’ Yordan Álvarez plays second fiddle in fWAR with 3.7 Wins Above Replacement.

Even more remarkable: Alonso is the second rookie in MLB history to deliver at least 50 home runs in a single season. The first? Aaron Judge, who clubbed a jaw-dropping 52 homers for the Yankees in 2017.