CHICAGO — There’s no question rookie left-hander Patrick Corbin has shown the Diamondbacks that he can pitch in the majors. They just don’t want him doing it as a full-time reliever.
The D-backs optioned Corbin to Triple-A Reno before Saturday’s game with the Cubs in order to activate starter Joe Saunders from the disabled list. D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said the organization wasn’t comfortable saddling Corbin, 22, with the rigors of regular relief duty.
“We hadn’t thrown him on back-to-back days, and we have all these games coming up,” Gibson said. “Ultimately, we were not really comfortable asking him to do that yet.”
Since a June 27 call-up, Corbin has posted a 1.54 ERA over 11 2/3 innings. On July 8, he threw three innings to record his first major league save. Gibson said Corbin will now return to the rotation in Reno and continue to develop as a starter.
“He was doing a phenomenal job,” Gibson said. “We like the kid a lot — he’s got a great future.”
That future, even with Corbin’s early success as a reliever, seems certain to be in the starting rotation. D-backs general manager Kevin confirmed as much Saturday.
“Down the road, we see him as a starter,” Towers said. “He’s one of our top pitching prospects, and he did a nice job when he did start (in the majors earlier this year). He’s done a nice job in the bullpen. It was a tough decision.”
Corbin started five games early in the year after Josh Collmenter was sent to the bullpen, posting a 2-3 record and a 5.27 ERA with 18 strikeouts and nine walks.