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06/04/08 9:35 PM ET

Betancourt avoids trip to disabled list

Reliever throws successful bullpen session to stay in 'pen

ARLINGTON -- Rafael Betancourt avoided a trip to the 15-day disabled list with a successful bullpen session at Rangers Ballpark on Wednesday afternoon.

Betancourt began feeling tightness in his back on Monday morning and was thus unavailable for the first two games of the four-game set with the Rangers.

The Indians considered placing him on the DL on Wednesday, when they brought up Brian Slocum and Rick Bauer from Triple-A Buffalo and optioned out Tom Mastny. Betancourt, though, felt fine after his bullpen, and Jensen Lewis got the axe instead.

"[Tuesday night] I tried to [warm up to] throw in the game, and I couldn't do it," Betancourt said. "Now I feel much better. I feel better than the last two days, and that's enough for me."

Betancourt hadn't pitched in a game since working two-thirds of an inning against the Royals on Saturday.

"I wasn't even able to play catch Monday," Betancourt said. "And warming up [Tuesday] night, I wasn't feeling right. [Wednesday] was much better."

Betancourt, dominant in the setup role last season, has been pushed back toward the seventh inning this season, as he's posted a 1-3 record and 5.40 ERA in 24 games. He was the team's closer for a brief period when Joe Borowski was on the DL and converted four of five save opportunities.

Last week, manager Eric Wedge publicly criticized Betancourt for not throwing his fastball inside often enough. Opposing hitters are batting .316 off Betancourt.

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.