Corbin makes good first impression as he seeks return to D-backs rotation

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Patrick Corbin excelled as a reliever at the end of last season, so much so he is not guaranteed a spot in the Diamondbacks’ rotation this year under a new regime.

But Corbin has no intention of going back to the bullpen and on Monday took a first step toward locking down a starter’s role.

The left-hander threw two hitless innings against the Reds in a 6-1 D-backs victory at Salt River Fields.

Corbin was tested right away. Speedster Billy Hamilton put together a 10-pitch at-bat that resulted in a walk. But Corbin induced a double play from the nest hitter and struck out three of the final four Reds he faced to close out his first appearance of the spring.

“I’m pleased with the first outing,” Corbin said. “I really just wanted to locate my fastball and that was the biggest thing, and I was able to do that. … The biggest thing to take away is feeling good and start building up pitch count.”

Corbin finished last season was 13 straight scoreless innings out of the bullpen.

Lovullo before the game said he had talked with a number of the pitcher in contention for starters spots about sliding into the bullpen if they don’t land in the rotation.

Corbin, though, has every intention of returning to the rotation in 2017.

“I haven’t thought about (the bullpen). I’m going in as a starter,” Corbin said, “and (I’m going to) do this like I would in the regular season, throw my bullpen in a couple days and prepare for another start.”

Corbin had a 2.70 ERA and 26 strikeouts against nine walks in 23 1/3 innings as a reliever. As a starter, he complied a 5.58 ERA in 24 starts.

“I’ve had conversations with him about last year,” Lovullo said. “It’s just my way of communicating, getting grounded with him and understanding where he’s and the type of year he had. … Once I got a little background on him and he told me a little bit of a story about his year and who he is, I’m anxious to see where that takes him right now.

“Everything is laid out for him. I know he’s anxious to go out there and execute.”

Lovullo liked what Corbin displayed in his first appearance.

“Patrick did a great job of attacking the zone from pitch 1,” Lovullo said.

Reymond Fuentes clubbed a three-run home run, and David Peralta and Oscar Hernandez had RBI singles to provide the D-backs scoring in their first Cactus League win this year.