At 11:20 p.m. in a nearly vacant visiting clubhouse manager Walt Weiss hugged Rafael Betancourt thanking him for his effort.

Several teammates quietly patted him on the back. The gravity of the moment was powerful reflecting the concern about Betancourt’s right elbow injury. An initial evaluation by the Rockies trainer Keith Dugger suggested that there is a possible ulnar collateral ligament tear which would end the highly-respected veteran’s season and possibly his career. Betancourt 38 will undergo an MRI on Monday.


“It’s not good. It’s very sore right now. I have gone through a lot of pain throughout my whole career but this is completely different” Betancourt told The Denver Post. “I could not throw another pitch.”

Betancourt revealed that his elbow was bothering him slightly on Wednesday night. He tried to convince himself that it was just normal tightness given his recent long stretch of inactivity following his appendectomy.

“Sometimes you have soreness after you pitch. Last night was different while I was pitching. It was weird. And it was a little sore after the game” Betancourt said. “Today I was sore but you know I was warming up and I thought I could get get through it.”

Twenty-four hours after blowing his second save of the season Betancourt figured the adrenalin of the game would take over. That he could find a way to secure three outs. It wasn’t going to be easy. The elbow was getting worse as he pitched. He retired the first two hitters then allowed a double to Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins. He reached two strikes on Michael Young who walked off Betancourt and the Rockies on Wednesday.

“I figured I had one more pitch in me. Either get him out and game over or come out of the game” Betancourt said. “I thought I could do it. If I throw one more pitch after that it was going to be really bad.”

Young hit a slow roller — “A swinging bunt” Weiss called it — that Nolan Arenado couldn’t barehand cleanly. Young reached safely and Betancourt exited without throwing another pitch. Dominic Brown singled off Jeff Francis to send the Phillies to their second-straight walkoff victory. Betancourt has not dealt with an elbow injury since he fractured it in 2001.