Rockies' Black says Bettis eyeing summer return following chemotherapy

Anthony Gruppuso / Reuters / USA TODAY Sports

Colorado Rockies right-hander Chad Bettis was forced to step away from the mound after it was discovered his testicular cancer had spread earlier this spring - but he's already eyeing a triumphant return.

Bettis, who had been declared cancer-free after offseason surgery only to discover it had returned earlier this month, began his chemotherapy treatments on Monday. Although the treatments are just getting started, Rockies manager Bud Black revealed Monday that the 27-year-old's ultimate plan is to make it back to the big leagues before the year is out.

"All through this, his intent is to pitch for us sometime this summer," Black told Nick Groke of The Denver Post.

Black even hinted that a return around the All-Star break could be possible, according to Groke, though an exact timetable is not clear at this stage.

Related: Rockies, MLBers rally behind Bettis after cancer setback

Bettis, who led all Rockies starters in wins (14), innings pitched (186), and starts (32) in 2016, has apparently kept himself busy with baseball since announcing his cancer had returned. He's spent some time working as a scout for the club, and even charted rookie starter Jeff Hoffman during his minor-league outing on Sunday. For Black and the Rockies, simply having him around the complex has been a rallying point this spring.

"Chad has handled this so gracefully and courageously," Black said. "He's kept such a positive frame of mind around the clubhouse.

"He's been a pillar of strength."