Chatwood gone, but not forgotten

Chatwood gone, but not forgotten

DENVER -- Right-handed pitcher Tyler Chatwood was sent down to Triple-A Colorado Springs after two Major League starts -- one competitive, the other a sparkling six scoreless innings against the Dodgers. His response was eye-catching.

Chatwood struck out eight, walked none and needed 89 pitches on Tuesday night to complete the first nine-inning shutout by a Colorado Springs pitcher at home since 2003. Chatwood held Iowa to four hits in a 5-0 victory.

"It's definitely tough, but I think that's part of it," Chatwood, 23, told The Gazette newspaper in Colorado Springs. "You can't control it. You've just got to go out there and pitch and to keep the pressure on the team to make decisions."

The Rockies sent Chatwood down when the guy he replaced in the rotation, righty Jhoulys Chacin, returned from a back strain. Rockies right-hander Juan Nicasio, who started Wednesday night against the Yankees, and left-hander Jeff Francis, the scheduled starter Thursday afternoon, have struggled to give the Rockies length, so Chatwood hopes to keep forcing the issue.

Rockies manager Walt Weiss made it clear he was paying attention.

"'Chat' is really coming on," Weiss said. "I've always liked his competitiveness. I wasn't around in the past, but even this year in Spring Training it was evident this kid competes. He's got great stuff. It's just a matter of being more efficient and commanding that stuff. I like the way he handles himself."

The choice was between Nicasio and Chatwood when Chacin returned. Now it appears Nicasio is pitching for his spot.

"Regardless of your situation in the big leagues, there's always pressure to perform," Weiss said. "If there's not somebody in your organization that's looking to take your job, there's somebody someplace else. They'll go get somebody to take your job. It's a tough league and you have to perform.

"Juan knows what he's got to do and we've talked about it. He's very similar. There's a lot of good stuff. He's got to be a little more efficient with it."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.