ANAHEIM -- The Angels optioned Tyler Chatwood to Triple-A Salt Lake on Thursday, sending the struggling rookie back to the Minors where they hope he regains command of his fastball -- a problem that plagued his last four starts.
In a corresponding move, the Angels recalled catcher Hank Conger from Salt Lake.
Since pitching seven strong innings in a win over Baltimore on July 24, Chatwood's effectiveness has plummeted. He's allowed 18 runs in his past four starts for an 8.53 ERA and an 0-3 record.
"With Tyler really being a three-pitch pitcher -- and his breaking ball is more of an out pitch -- getting back into counts is really sensitive to his fastball command," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Wednesday. "As that erodes, now you're left with how are you going to get back into counts? If fastball command is not there, you try to get too much of the plate and all of a sudden these guys get pretty good swings at it."
Apparently, Chatwood's start Tuesday against Texas was the final straw. Chatwood gave up five runs on eight hits that night and failed to record an out in the third inning.
"He's got some things he needs to work on," Scioscia said. "He's got a full list from [pitching coach] Mike Butcher. It's not like it's extensive, but there's a couple of things he needs to work on, and primarily fastball command, trying to feel more confident with the ball in the mound. He'll be back. He's got a great arm and he just needs to work on some things."
With Chatwood out of the rotation, right-hander Jerome Williams is a candidate to make Chatwood's next scheduled start on Sunday. Williams started 10 games for Triple-A Salt Lake this year and went 7-2 with a 3.91 ERA in 11 games.
Conger hit .214 with five home runs and 16 RBIs in 50 games with the Angels this season, but he's hitting .300 with five homers and 26 RBIs with the Bees. Conger's addition could inject some much-needed offense at the catcher spot for the Halos. Jeff Mathis and Bobby Wilson are both hitting under .200.