Corbin changing up pitch mix this season

D-backs lefty plans to throw more changeups to go along with fastball, slider

Corbin changing up pitch mix this season

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- D-backs left-hander Patrick Corbin has a fastball that registers in the low 90s with good movement and a biting slider that hitters swing over.

It is an arsenal that served him well last year as he made a successful return after missing the entire 2014 season due to Tommy John surgery. In 16 starts, Corbin compiled a 3.60 ERA, picking up where he left off in '13 when he was 14-8 with a 3.41 ERA.

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This year, though, Corbin plans to change things up a bit as he intends to use his changeup more.

"My changeup is probably something I'm trying to get to where I can throw it as much as my slider and rely on that pitch when I'm in jams or trying to get ahead," Corbin said. "It's another pitch I want to show lefties and righties to keep them off my slider and fastball a little bit."

During his rookie campaign in 2012, Corbin threw the changeup 15 percent of the time, but that fell off to six percent last year while the use of his slider increased.

That wasn't necessarily a bad thing for Corbin as his slider is a devastating pitch, but mixing things up more would give the hitter another thing to think about, and when hitters have additional things to consider, it's an advantage for the pitcher.

In his most recent spring start Corbin threw more changeups than sliders as he tries to build confidence in throwing the pitch.

"I just think last year I would get away from it a little bit," Corbin said. "It was almost like I didn't need to throw it. Some games I'd throw it around my 40th pitch or so later in the game, where I don't get a feel for it. Now if I can throw it a little bit at the beginning of the game, have a feel for that pitch and go to it whenever I need, it'll help my fastball for sure. Something in their mind that's different. I think it's getting to the point where I can throw it in any count just like my slider."

Whereas the slider is a swing-and-miss pitch, the goal of the changeup is to induce weak contact. If a right-hander is expecting a fastball and instead gets the change, he will be out on his front foot and the contact he makes will likely produce a weak grounder.

It can also be pitch that helps Corbin keep his pitch count down, because if he falls behind in a count 1-0 or 2-0 he could throw the changeup to try and get the groundout rather than having to throw three or four more pitches trying for the strikeout.

"We'll see," Corbin said. "I think if there's an aggressive team out there, that might be a game plan that we can do. It's just another weapon that I can have to get them off the slider sometimes, and also if I'm pounding them in, something I can pitch away with."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.