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03/03/11 4:39 PM ET

Young Chatwood on fast track with fast pitches

TEMPE, Ariz. -- For a guy who didn't think of himself as a pitcher until fairly late in the game, Tyler Chatwood is climbing the ladder quickly.

Chatwood was the Angels' Minor League Pitcher of the Year for 2010, going a combined 13-9 with a 2.84 ERA in 155 1/3 innings at three stops -- from advanced Class A Rancho Cucamonga through Double-A Arkansas to Triple-A Salt Lake.

A 6-foot, 185-pound right-hander who calls to mind Roy Oswalt, Chatwood hits the mid-90s -- touching 98 mph -- with a big curveball.

"When I came up, I was compared to Oswalt," Chatwood said. "I watched him; he's nasty. I've pretty much got my own style and delivery. I'm trying to refine some things, work on what I took from last year."

He showed his big time stuff against the Reds on Tuesday, setting down six of the seven hitters he faced. A hit batsman was the only blemish in an otherwise perfect two innings, with one strikeout.

"Chatwood really looked good," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia, who sees the local kid climbing the depth chart.

Chatwood, who turned 21 on Dec. 16, is a native of Fontana, Calif., and attended Redlands East Valley High School. He was the Angels' top choice in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, taken in the second round at No. 74 overall.

"I was a shortstop my senior year," Chatwood said. "I only threw like 30 innings. I'm pretty much learning how to pitch, how to read hitters. I've got to catch up."

Clearly moving quickly, he has climbed to No. 76 on Baseball America's list of its Top 100 Major League prospects.

For first outing, Santana says it was 'very good'

TEMPE, Ariz. -- It was a day for working out the kinks and, as Angels right-hander Ervin Santana put it, "practicing on a lot of different things." More practice will be required on an addition to his repertoire. His split-fingered fastball got very limited exposure in Santana's Cactus League debut against the Royals on Thursday.

"I threw it once," Santana said, grinning. "Wild pitch." Catcher Bobby Wilson figured that was enough for openers and didn't call for it again.

Santana yielded two runs on two hits and a walk, retiring four batters before reaching his pitch-count limit after striking out catcher Lucas May leading off the second inning.

"For a first outing to me it was very good," Santana said. "Everything was low. I threw the four-seamer, slider, a few changeups. I'm not afraid to use the split. It's getting better. I'll use it just once in a while."

Santana, 28, is the projected third starter. He's coming off career highs in wins (17) and innings pitched (222 2/3), striking out 169 hitters last season.

Restoring defense a priority

TEMPE, Ariz. -- While the Angels' offensive doldrums captured the lion's share of the attention in 2010, almost equally distressing was a decline in the overall quality of the defense.

This was evident in virtually every phase of the game, although the outfield play did improve dramatically over the final two months, when Peter Bourjos arrived to play center, moving Torii Hunter to right and giving the club two superb defenders.

The infield was not the same with third baseman Chone Figgins gone, first baseman Kendry Morales missing two-thirds of the season and shortstop Erick Aybar not repeating his superlative 2009 season.

After committing just 85 errors in '09, the Angels made 113 errors, ranking 13th in fielding percentage at .981. An infield that turned an AL-high 174 double plays in '09 fell to 116. Only the Giants, with a staff of strikeout artists, had fewer in the Major Leagues.

"There are a lot of positives coming forward in the way our team looks on the defensive side," manager Mike Scioscia said. "You have to make plays on the left side of the infield. We didn't play the level of defense that we could last year. We should have turned more double plays at a higher level.

"Our defense is going to excel, first of all because of the range we're going to have. Guys are going to make more plays. I think our range is terrific in the infield as well as the outfield."

The loss of Jeff Mathis two weeks into the season with a fractured right wrist impaired the catching defensively. Scioscia expects that position to be an asset with Mathis competing with Bobby Wilson and Hank Conger for playing time.

Signed, sealed, delivered

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Angels have completed signings of all players on the 40-man roster, bringing the club's payroll to about $140 million for the 2011 season. That includes the final payment of $11.4 million due Gary Matthews Jr. on his five-year deal.

Agreeing to terms were pitchers Matt Palmer, Jason Bulger, Kevin Jepsen, Trevor Bell, Ysmael Carmona, Bobby Cassevah, Michael Kohn, Anthony Ortega, Francisco Rodriguez, Rich Thompson, Loek Van Mil and Jordan Walden; catchers Bobby Wilson and Hank Conger; infielders Brandon Wood, Andrew Romine, Freddy Sandoval and Mark Trumbo; and outfielders Peter Bourjos, Jeremy Moore and Chris Pettit.

Palmer, Bulger and Wood become eligible for arbitration after the season for the first time.

Worth noting

The Angels staged their annual Christmas in March program on Thursday, with young players on the roster purchasing and preparing gifts for children of players and staff members. Leftover wrapped gifts go to a local shelter for battered women and homeless families, making sure no kids go without birthday gifts. Chatwood was in charge this year. Reggie Willits has assumed the role of leader of the toy crew, which featured players pushing shopping carts loaded with gifts through the team's clubhouse area. "It's really a great thing these guys do," Scioscia said.

Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.