West Links: Chatwood, Martin, Astros, Angels

Though the Rockies continued their hot start by improving to 16-12 last night, the mood was dampened by the departure of right-hander Tyler Chatwood with elbow tightness, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post writes. It may not be too serious, as manager Walt Weiss wasn’t sure if an MRI would be utilized, but as Saunders points out, Chatwood missed nearly a month last season with elbow tightness. He also had bone chips removed from the elbow last October. Colorado has already seen its rotation hampered by injuries to Jhoulys Chacin and Brett Anderson, and losing Chatwood for any amount of time would be yet another blow. Here’s more from baseball’s Western divisions…

  • Bleacher Report’s Scott Miller has penned a must-read piece on the tale of Rockies reliever Chris Martin and his journey from working at an appliance store to Colorado’s bullpen. Martin’s career appeared to be done after shoulder surgery in his sophomore season of junior college, but time healed his shoulder, stocking washers and dryers strengthened it, and a game of catch with a friend led to a tryout for the American Association’s AirHogs. His AirHogs manager, former big leaguer Pete Incaviglia, placed a call to the Red Sox about getting scouts to see Martin as soon as possible. This synopsis doesn’t do the story justice, and Miller’s article is well worth the read.
  • The Astros, who typically employ a starter-reliever piggyback system for their minor league clubs, will adopt a six-man rotation at the Triple-A level for the time being, writes MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. GM Jeff Luhnow spoke with McTaggart about the team’s unconventional development methods in the minors, noting that eventually the Triple-A club will go back to the usual tandem system employed at other levels.
  • In his latest “Fangraphs on FOX” article, Dave Cameron examines the Angels‘ offensive production to date and notes that their record isn’t really indicative of the talent on the team. The Halos also stack up very favorably in wOBA differential, leading Cameron to believe that there’s 90-win potential in Anaheim this year. Cameron acknowledges the team’s biggest flaw — its bullpen — but notes that relievers are the easiest commodity to acquire on the trade market each summer.