Corbin still a candidate for D-backs rotation

April 2, 2012

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — There appears to be some
intrigue surrounding the Diamondbacks starting rotation after all.

Rookie left-hander Patrick Corbin had emerged as a dark-horse candidate to make
the roster with a strong spring, and manager Kirk Gibson did not close that
door even after Corbin gave up six hits and six earned runs in an 8-3 loss to
the Chicago Cubs in his final spring outing on Monday.

Gibson appeared to signal that Corbin, who is now 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA in 21
innings, is being considered as a starter, even though a week ago Gibson said
that his rotation was full.

"Well, you always consider changes," Gibson said about the rotation,
although he did not elaborate.

Right-hander Josh Collmenter, scheduled to start an exhibition game against
Milwaukee at Chase Field on Tuesday, appears to be the least secure member of
the rotation. He is 0-4 with an 11.81 ERA and has been inconsistent with his
fastball location this spring, having given up 27 hits and 21 runs in 16
innings. He has two minor league options remaining.

Corbin, who has made three starts and three relief appearances, appears to be
less of a candidate for a role in a veteran bullpen that appears set.

"He’s competing for a spot on the team. There are many different
combinations I have considered," Gibson said of Corbin.

Corbin had given up one run in 15 2/3 previous innings this spring. After
giving up two runs in the first inning, he retired 13 consecutive batters
before giving up five runs in the sixth inning as his pitch count reached a
spring-high 83.

Corbin pitched five hitless innings in his previous appearance, his longest
stint of the spring, and took a stretch of 14 straight scoreless innings into
Monday’s start.

"He’s has a great spring. He has good stuff. He’s somebody else to be
considered. It’s good to see him throw good," Gibson said.

Corbin gave up three doubles and a home run, a two-run shot by Geovany Soto
that knocked him out in a five-run sixth inning that was lengthened by a dropped
fly ball in the outfield. In between, Corbin got some bad swings on his
slider/curveball in the middle innings.

"I felt OK. In the first inning and in the sixth, I got the fastball up a
little bit, which you can’t do. I was really pleased with the off-speed. I was
throwing it for strikes early in the count, and then when I got ahead I buried
it a little bit. That worked well. That’s what I’m going to take out of
this," Corbin said.

Corbin, 22, spent all last season at Double-A Mobile, where he was 9-8 with a
4.21 ERA in 26 starts while helping the BayBears to the Southern League title.
He struck out 142 and had only 40 walks in 2011, and his ratio was better than
2:1 this spring, with 20 strikeouts and eight walks.

"I feel like I had a good spring and showed them what I had. When you are
throwing well, you give yourself an opportunity to stay up here," Corbin

"Hopefully they’ll give me a shot this year. It’s just a matter of time
and getting your opportunity. You kind of have to wait your turn."


Collmenter will start but is expected to pitch only an inning or two, Gibson
said, when the D-backs move to Chase Field on Tuesday for the first game of a
two-game series against Milwaukee to close the exhibition season. Collmenter is
scheduled to make his first regular-season start Sunday in the final game of a
three-game series against San Francisco.

Left-hander Randy Wolf is scheduled to start for the Brewers.

Left-handers Tyler Skaggs and Craig Breslow and right-handers Takashi Saito and
J.J. Putz are scheduled to follow Collmenter for the D-backs.


The seven infielders who are expected to make the team have committed only five
errors in a combined 147 spring games. Starting shortstop Willie Bloomquist and
starting second baseman Aaron Hill have not committed an error in 43 games, 22
of which belong to Bloomquist, who made two sparking plays Monday. ... Chris
Young hit his second home run in as many games Monday and leads the team with
five homers this spring. Ryan Roberts has four. ... The D-backs drew 11,356 at
Salt River Fields on Monday, their 14th sellout of the year. The D-backs drew
186,868 in their second spring in Phoenix after spending the first 12 springs
in Tucson. The D-backs’ averaged 11,679 in 16 games after averaging 11,161 in
17 home dates last season, when they drew 189,737. A crowd of 11,000 or more is
considered a sellout at Salt River.

Jack Magruder on Twitter