Corbin growing through up-and-down season

Corbin growing through up-and-down season

PHOENIX -- D-backs pitcher Patrick Corbin, who started Sunday's series finale against the Nationals, has been up and down three times over the last 3 1/2 months, providing spot starts, relief depth and now what appears to be a continued spot in the rotation.

So what has the rookie learned since making his debut all the way back in April? More or less, it's been about not being scared of hitters and attacking the plate.

"I'm going after these guys, that's the biggest thing, not being afraid and just throwing strikes," Corbin said. "Let them put it in play. The first time you come up here, you have to be nervous. Going back down helps you realize how much you want to go back up."

Entering Sunday, Corbin allowed only two runs on eight hits over his past two starts since being called up again. The runs both came in the D-backs' 10-4 win at the Pirates on Tuesday. Six days earlier, he threw another six innings, allowing two hits and zero runs in a 4-0 win over the Dodgers.

Aside from the experience, another big part of the success for Corbin has been throwing his offspeed pitches more and having a better feel for it.

"My breaking ball up here the first time wasn't the best, I wasn't throwing it as much as I should that's what I learned coming back the second time," Corbin said. "I wasn't throwing it enough so I couldn't get a feel for it. So when I came back it helped a lot to throw it early in the count and late in the count. Whether I'm ahead or behind, I'm mixing up my pitches."

Back in Spring Training, the 23-year-old was in early conversations about making the team to begin the season, but the D-backs opted to give Corbin more seasoning, a move that has paid off in a big way.

"We liked what we saw," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "Ultimately we decided to develop him more and we've continued to do that. He understands what it takes. He knows he has to attack batters and he's got to field his position. You can tell someone all you want, but it's hard until you get here. He's competitive, he's athletic and he works hard."

Like his rookie pitcher, Gibson believes the stints with the D-backs have helped Corbin grow more when he returned to Triple-A Reno. Knowing what he had to work on made getting better that much easier.

"He understands the league now, you have to make adjustments," Gibson said. "He's one of those guys who believes in himself and he wants to be here. He doesn't like to fail. He has that within him, when things get tough, he buckles down, he doesn't crack."