PHOENIX -- Rockies right-hander Tyler Chatwood doesn't actually need the photographs. He lived it. But thinking of the shots at Chase Field on April 29, 2014, is less painful than the feeling in his right arm, which was hanging oddly while head athletic trainer Keith Dugger had his hand cupped over his face, and manager Walt Weiss, teammates and coaches were looking in other directions.
Chatwood painted a much happier picture Wednesday afternoon in a 4-3 victory over the D-backs -- his first Major League regular-season game since that day, which eventually led to Tommy John surgery. Chatwood held the D-backs to two runs, one earned, over 6 1/3 innings.
In the days leading up to the game, Chatwood admitted thinking about the scene nearly two years ago.
"I thought out how that was the last time I've been in a big league game, and all the pictures that I've seen, it was me and 'Doogie' [Dugger] coming off the mound," Chatwood said.
On Wednesday, Chatwood struck out three and pitched around seven hits. He faced loaded bases with no outs in the third -- with his throwing error negating a possible double play -- but escaped with just two runs scoring and a one-run lead. He forced ground-ball outs from David Peralta and Jake Lamb to end the inning.
"That was frustrating," Chatwood said. "I had a double play, but made a bad throw, but luckily minimized the damage, kept the lead. They made a lot of great plays behind me, which was huge."
When he left the mound, he was able to enjoy watching Miguel Castro and Boone Logan prevent the two runners he left on base from scoring. He didn't have to worry about his career.
Actually, Chatwood never entertained that kind of thinking.
Chatwood, 26, joined the Rockies in 2012 in a trade with the Angels for catcher Chris Iannetta, and went 14-11 with a 4.05 ERA, including 10-4, 3.92 at Coors Field. But when his elbow began to go he entered rare territory. He had Tommy John surgery at age 16, so he was going to have to come back from two of them, while many have it only once.
"One thing I take pride in is my competitiveness," Chatwood said. "That's what's helped me get through this. You see guys like Daniel Hudson, Chris Capuano, Kris Medlen. Those guys come back. You want to be with those guys. You want to be with them."
Weiss said, "It's a great day for 'Chatty,' and emotional day. It's a long road back from his second one. I'm sure he had this date circled on the calendar, and went out there and did an outstanding job. That's the Chatwood that we all remember."