Tyler Chatwood takes a hesitant first step

Less than four years ago, Tyler Chatwood was the San Bernardino County high-school player of the year at Redlands East Valley High.

Last season, half of his starts came at Single-A Rancho Cucamonga. On Monday, Chatwood completed the geographical triangle – and a meteoric rise – by pitching at Angel Stadium against the Cleveland Indians.

Forgive the 21-year old if he wasn’t perfect in Monday night’s 4-0 loss.

“I couldn’t feel my body, really, in the first inning,” Chatwood said.

The Angels have a pitching problem – two starters on the disabled list – and so, yeah, they might have rushed Chatwood a little bit. He has made two starts at Triple-A and one of them, on Saturday, was cut short after one inning so he could save his arm for major-league hitters.

Monday, they got a little bit of an indication the kid might help them out when manager Mike Scioscia left him in with the bases loaded and one out, and he got the Indians’ No. 3 hitter, Shin-Soo Choo, to hit into an inning-ending double play. The fact he had been shaky early on didn’t surprise anybody given his age and level of seasoning.

That 90th, and final, pitch of the game, a nice sinking fastball low and away, became the basis to build hope around.

“He settled down and you saw he was aggressive as the game went on and outs became easier,” Scioscia said. “He got through five innings.”

Five decent innings earned Chatwood at least another start and probably more. There aren’t a whole lot of other people the Angels can turn to right now. Besides, he just might pitch better next time out. Maybe the second one won’t be an out-of-body experience.