SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Patrick Corbin faced Los Angeles Angels’ minor leaguers in a backfield game on Saturday afternoon and thought the ball came out of his hand well.
“The slider felt really good,” Corbin said. “Overall it was good, (I) felt strong at the end, which is good. I think the last outing maybe wasn’t as strong, so just continuing to build.”
The Arizona Diamondbacks left-hander said he is getting to the point where he can pitch in the main stadium. The D-Backs left-hander is scheduled to face the Chicago White Sox in a night game at 6:40 p.m. at Salt River Fields. This would keep him five days between starts.
After that, Corbin would likely throw his final spring outing against the Cleveland Indians in an exhibition game at Chase Field on March 27.
“You can kind of just see how your stuff feels,” Corbin said about pitching in the main stadium as opposed to on the backfields.
Corbin finished 2017 with a 14-13 record and a 4.03 ERA in 32 starts, but those numbers don’t totally reflect how his season transpired. He tied career highs in wins, starts and strikeouts (178), all three matching his 2013 All-Star campaign.
The D-Backs pitching staff ranked first in ground-ball-to-fly-ball ratio last year, and Corbin ranked seventh in groundball percentage (51.5) and eighth in GB/FB ratio (2.01).
In addition, Corbin pitched well at home, going 9-4 with a 3.15 ERA and the team went 12-4. He held lefties to a .220 average, something he has been working on more this spring
“Had a lot of lefties today, so that is something that we worked on a little bit more,” Corbin said.
If Corbin can keep the ball in the park, after giving up 26 home runs in 2017, he can have an even better 2018. The humidor could reduce the number of long balls he surrenders.
Greinke’s Opening Day Prospects Dwindling
After pitching only one inning in his last start against the Cincinnati Reds, manager Torey Lovullo said Saturday that the veteran right-hander will miss his next scheduled start on Monday against the Los Angeles Angels.
Starting against the Angels would have put Greinke on track to start Opening Day on March 29 against the Colorado Rockies. But after Greinke said he felt great after throwing a bullpen session on Sunday, Lovullo still has not come to a final decision for his next spring start.
“We’ll need to drill down to the day and the number of pitches he needs to throw,” Lovullo said to MLB.com “We need to make sure he’s ready and feeling good [Monday] when he gets to the ballpark.”
However, Greinke only threw 19 pitches in his one inning of work against the Reds after experiencing tightness in his right groin. He needs to build up arm strength and the D-Backs will not rush him under any circumstances.
Because his recent side sessions were also delayed, pushing his starts back, if Greinke continues on his current schedule, he would line up to start the final game of the opening series against Colorado on March 31.
In any event, it is more important to make sure Greinke is good to go, rather than rushing him and Robbie Ray would start on opening day for many teams. Even without Greinke, the D-Backs still have a solid rotation.
In Other News…
- The D-Backs made some roster moves:
- Closer candidate Yoshihisa Hirano looked good in his one inning on the backfields Saturday. He got plenty of swings and misses with his nasty split-fingered fastball and allowed no hits, walked one and struck out one. He struggled in February but has looked more like the pitcher the D-Backs thought they signed this the offseason in recent outings. He is still getting used to life in the U.S.
— Joe Jacquez (@joejacquezaz) March 18, 2018
- Lefty Jorge De La Rosa threw two scoreless innings in the backfield game on Saturday. He has looked great this spring.
- Lovullo said catcher Jeff Mathis was dealing with back tightness on Saturday.
- Lovullo said Randall Delgado began a throwing program on Saturday. It is hard to imagine him being ready for Opening Day.