SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It's been a few years since Tyler Chatwood could regularly wield a baseball bat. Now that he has the opportunity again, he's grabbing that opportunity by the handle.
The 22-year-old right-hander, who was acquired from the Angels by trade this offseason, can often be found walking around the Rockies' clubhouse at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, or sitting in front of his locker, with a bat in his hand. After all, he hasn't gotten to use one regularly since he hit .571 as a senior at Redlands East Valley High School in San Bernardino, Calif.
"It's gonna be fun," Chatwood said of the prospects of hitting in the National League. "I could always swing it."
Chatwood was twice named the San Bernardino Player of the Year -- in 2005 and '07 -- and turned down an opportunity to play shortstop at UCLA for a shot at pro ball. He knew that meant giving up hitting.
"I always wanted to play pro ball, so if that was the only way, I was going to take it," Chatwood said. "At first I was all for it, but then I was like, 'Man, I miss hitting.'"
Chatwood was taken in the second round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft by the Angels, and said he would await Interleague Play, when he could hit again. He debuted with the Angels on April 11 last season, and went 2-for-3 with a run and two sacrifice bunts in five plate appearances.
"I was pumped for it," Chatwood said. "I was more nervous for hitting in Interleague Play than I was for pitching."
Rockies manager Jim Tracy is all for it, knowing the importance of having pitchers who can help execute the offense.
"We're real proud of that part of our program, because I think we've been very good at it over the last couple years," Tracy said. "We've gotten very good collectively over the years of those guys being very good at creating some messy innings for the opposing pitcher, because we work very hard at them being able to handle a bat."