Corbin looks ahead to full season in Diamondbacks' rotation

Arizona Diamondbacks pitchers Zack Greinke and Patrick Corbin (46) prepare to hit during a spring training baseball practice, Monday, Feb. 22, 2016, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)
AP

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) Patrick Corbin hasn't played a full season since 2013. But after a successful return to the mound from major elbow surgery over the second half of last season, the Arizona Diamondbacks left-hander is glad to be back from the outset of 2016 with no restrictions beyond a typical workload for a healthy pitcher.

Corbin, an All-Star in 2013 in just his second year in the big leagues, will join what figures to be a formidable top three in the Diamondbacks rotation. The club made a splash in free agency by signing Zack Greinke and traded for Shelby Miller.

Corbin posted a 6-5 record with a 3.60 ERA in 16 starts beginning last July. He missed all of 2014 and part of last year after the Tommy John surgery, and he was given a pitch limit upon his return to the mound.

''Missing so much time you realize how much you love to play the game and you do question yourself, can you get back to where you were before,'' Corbin said. ''It just proved to myself that I can go out there and pitch again. The elbow feels great and it feels good to be able to come here 100 percent and ready to go.''

Corbin, 26, is back on his normal program in spring training, throwing bullpens and going through all fielding and bunting drills.

''If I'm healthy I should be able to make every start and throw deeper into ballgames, which is something I really want to do this year,'' Corbin said. Nine of his starts lasted six innings or more last season and he had 78 strikeouts to 17 walks, despite the 80-to-90 pitch limit placed on him.

Corbin had times when he felt good and wanted to extend his outing, but accepted the decision.

''Looking back now, it was probably a smart thing because I feel great now,'' he said.

The Diamondbacks are looking at upgraded starting pitching even if Corbin is unable to take every rotation turn this season.

''I think we have to be careful. That's why we traded for Shelby and Zack. We know what their history is,'' manager Chip Hale said. ''We know what Patrick's done before but we also know he's two years out of surgery, one year from getting limited on his innings. We have to check on him and if he needs a turn off we can do it. But I don't anticipate having to do anything unless there's a problem. As we go down the road, we'll look for different opportunities to get him out of games early if we're way ahead.''

Corbin is excited about pitching this spring. He was injured in spring training in 2014 and had surgery that March.

''There's a clean elbow there. I just have a scar. Everything's good to go,'' Corbin said.

NOTES: Diamondbacks position players were required to notify the club they are in town in time for Tuesday's first full-squad workout. All of the major leaguers have already come into the spring training facility in recent days. … Hale said he'd like all his starting pitchers to hit eighth in the order if they show they can handle the bat. He's comfortable hitting Greinke eighth in the order. The idea is that Hale would like more chances to get people on base in front of top-of-the-order hitter A.J. Pollock, who has been a good run producer. … RHP Daniel Hudson is slated for a seventh-inning role, Hale said. He sees Hudson, Tyler Clippard and Brad Ziegler as his three main options in the late innings.