Corbin on track for June return to rotation

Lefty could soon start Minor League rehab stint

Corbin on track for June return to rotation

PHOENIX -- If all goes well, the D-backs will have left-hander Patrick Corbin back from last year's Tommy John surgery in a little bit more than a month.

Corbin's return after missing the entire 2014 season and the first two months of 2015 will create a log jam in a starting rotation that has been humming along. In the last nine games, the starters have posted a 3-2 record and 2.07 ERA, allowing just one home run.

It's a great problem to have.

"These things have a way of working themselves out," manager Chip Hale said on Sunday before his D-backs closed a three-game series against the Pirates at Chase Field.

Corbin will throw his second simulated game on Tuesday at Chase prior to the game against the Rockies and then three innings and 45 pitches on May 4 at Salt River Fields while the D-backs are at Colorado. If his left elbow remains stable, he'll build to 90 pitches during a Minor League rehab stint, beginning sometime in mid-May.

The trajectory right now is to activate him on or just before June 5, general manager Dave Stewart said this weekend. Corbin and Hale also corroborated that assessment on Sunday morning.

"I was just looking at the schedule," Hale said. "[Corbin's] going to throw that simulated on Tuesday. It looks like the first week of June he'll be back pitching on our club."

Corbin hurt his arm near the end of Spring Training of 2014 just as the D-backs were about to open the season against the Dodgers in Australia. He had the ligament replacement surgery on March 25.

Corbin also said the target for his return is the first week of June.

D-backs recover from Tommy John

"I'm excited, yeah I am," said Corbin, who had a breakout 14-8 season with a 3.41 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in 2013. "I'm feeling great. Just can't wait to get back. It has been awhile. It's been 14 months on our calendar since the surgery on Monday. So it will be about 15 months when I come back."

Meanwhile, Bronson Arroyo said he's feeling pain in his right elbow as he slowly is making his way back from Tommy John surgery this past July 15. Arroyo knows he's only nine months out from then. The normal recovery time is a year to 18 months, which means under a best-case scenario, Arroyo might return during the second half of the season.

By then, the two-year guaranteed portion of his $23.5 million will be about to expire. The D-backs have an $11 million option on the veteran starter for 2016 with a $4.5 million buyout.

"That's why I'd like to get back and maybe make 10 starts the second half of the season to show what I can do," Arroyo said. "That way they have some basis for making a decision."

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.