Saturday Rockpile: Welcome back, Tyler Chatwood

Tyler Chatwood returns to the Rockies today to face Tim Lincecum and the Giants. - Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Rockies' righty returns to the big leagues tonight in place of Jeff Francis.

The long, strange journey that has been Tyler Chatwood's professional baseball career to this point will take another turn tonight when he returns to the Rockies to face Tim Lincecum and the Giants.

People tend to forget that Chatwood is just 23 years old, given that he has made 48 Major League appearances (39 starts) in three different seasons to date.

Chatwood was drafted out of Redlands East Valley High School by the Los Angeles Angels in the second round of the 2008 draft and impressed in the lower levels of the minors, pitching for three different LA affiliates in 2010.

Chatwood made just four unspectacular starts at AAA Salt Lake before being called up to the Angels in 2011 to help fill in for a rash of pitching injuries that hit the big club. For a 21-year-old with less than 25 innings above AA, Chatwood performed quite admirably in the big leagues in 2011, accruing a 4.75 ERA and six wins in 142 innings spread over 25 starts and a pair of relief appearances.

That offseason, Chatwood's career took another unexpected turn when he was traded to the Rockies for Chris Iannetta.

Chatwood made the Rockies out of Spring Training in 2012 ... as a reliever. He made four relief appearances for the Rockies in April, earning his only career save in the process, before being sent to AAA ... to start. He made nine starts at Colorado Springs with mixed results -- an ugly 5.79 ERA but good peripheral stats -- before being recalled to Denver once again.

Chatwood's second stint with the Rockies in 2012 again consisted of work out of the bullpen; he made three relief appearances in late June and early July before being sent back down again, this time to AA Tulsa.

He made four starts in Tulsa, with good results this time -- a 3.00 ERA and 3.33 FIP in 24 innings -- before being recalled for a third stint in the majors, this time as a starter.

Chatwood made his final 12 starts of 2012 with the Rockies, going 4-5 with a 4.88 ERA, a significant improvement over the 7.62 ERA he compiled as a reliever.

This will already be Chatwood's second stint in the Major Leagues in 2013, but between AAA and the majors this season, he has put together a 3.10 ERA in 40 2/3 innings over seven starts. Perhaps this is the time he sticks in the show.

If there has been one constant in Chatwood's career, it has been inconsistency. He has 749 2/3 professional innings under his belt on 10 different teams in two different organizations; he has thrown more than 100 innings for just two of those 10 teams (Single-A Cedar Rapids in 2009 and the Angels in 2011). However, he has shown improvement at each stop and a bit of stability, at either the AAA or major league level, could really allow his career to develop.

Perhaps this call up is his chance to do just that.

Links:

Rockies notes and quotes: Pacheco's dad gets grand slam ball, Tulo questions Bumgarner - Denver Post
Patrick Saunders has a whole slew of notes from last night's 10-9 win over the Giants, including the fate of Pacheco's grand slam ball and a disagreement between Troy Tulowitzki and Madison Bumgarner, but more on that one later.

Giants lose wild one under Coors big top - San Francisco Chronicle
In Henry Schulman's wrap up of last night's game, he discusses an incident in the fourth inning in which Tulowitzki called the attention of umpire Tim McClelland to a black splotch on the ball in Bumgarner's hand, which resulted in the two players having words with one another. It is to be seen what, if anything, comes of the incident.

Chad Bettis doing A-OK with Colorado Rockies' Double-A farm team - Denver Post
Irv Moss takes a look at the hot start of Tulsa's Chad Bettis, which has been momentarily derailed by an oblique injury, and has some other notes on the Drillers as well.

Colorado Rockies rookie Nolan Arenado has a big fan in Vinny Castilla - Denver Post
Patrick Saunders takes a look at the relationship between Nolan Arenado and Vinny Castilla since Arenado's call up. Personally, I can't think of a better mentor for Arenado than Vinny.

Finally, the Rockies tweeted this list of the top 20 walk up songs in franchise history, as voted by the fans. I'll refrain from comment on the list, as Franchise26 mentioned possibly doing a FanPost on the subject, but I will submit these favorites of mine that didn't make the list:

Josh Fogg - "Slow Ride" by Foghat
Brian Fuentes - "For You" by Staind (Note: That is the clean version.)
Carlos Gonzalez - "Abusadora" by Wisin & Yandel
Mike Myers - "Halloween Theme" by John Carpenter
Eric Young Jr. - "Stuntin' Like My Daddy" by Birdman & Lil Wayne (Can't find a clean version of this one.)

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