It takes a real fighter to battle cancer through chemotherapy. It's even tougher to return to the mound and pitch in a major league game after that treatment.
Colorado Rockies pitcher Chad Bettis did just that on Monday, throwing seven dominant innings in his season debut after battling testicular cancer in the offseason and the early part of 2017. He scattered six hits, walked none and struck out two against the Atlanta Braves.
Following his inspiring return, players from across the league -- and actor Ben Stiller -- took to Twitter to recognize Bettis' feat.
Even in a groove 7 scoreless is tough to do. Doing it as soon as you come back from chemo? Biggest hat tip possible to @cbettis35— Brandon McCarthy (@BMcCarthy32) August 15, 2017
What a special night. Thank you @cbettis35! It may have felt like you pitched tonight for just the Rox, but you pitched for so many more!— Ryan Spilborghs (@spillygoat19) August 15, 2017
THE ONLY SCORE THAT MATTERS TONIGHT— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) August 15, 2017
Chad Bettis: ☝️
Cancer: 0 pic.twitter.com/Y4wV3JDAi9
Tuesday afternoon, Bettis posted to his Instagram thanking everybody for their support.
After Monday's game, Bettis said he was holding back tears as he took the mound.
"I don't think I was in tune to what was going on until the fifth," Bettis said. "So many emotions. I was trying to get them under control. It was taking much longer than what was expected."
Even before his start began, the 28-year-old received support from teammates -- former and current -- and star players throughout baseball. Fellow testicular cancer fighter and Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon was among those to chime in.
Ready to watch @cbettis35 return to a big league mound, right back where you belong brother! Never a doubt you would be back this year!— Jameson Taillon (@JTaillon19) August 15, 2017
If you have a chance come support @Rockies at Coors tonight!Chad Bettis returning to mound after battle w Cancer! Goosebumps already!— Ryan Spilborghs (@spillygoat19) August 14, 2017
Pumped for @cbettis35. Idk him personally but cool to see him back on the hill tonight. Good luck— andrew mccutchen (@TheCUTCH22) August 14, 2017
Bettis rejoins his teammates in the middle of a playoff race. The Rockies are 66-52 following Monday's win, which ties them for the top wild-card spot in the National League. Last season, Bettis was 14-8 with a 4.79 ERA, 1.41 WHIP and 138 strikeouts in 186 innings.
-- Courtney Schellin