Corbin hopes to earn back starting role

Corbin hopes to earn back starting role

PHOENIX -- Patrick Corbin made his first relief outing of the season on Tuesday night, throwing two scoreless innings in a 7-5 loss to the Mets. If it's up to the D-backs' left-hander, he won't be in the bullpen for long.

It would have been Corbin's turn to start on Wednesday, but Arizona opted to move him to the bullpen last week and shift Zack Godley back into the starting rotation. Corbin has struggled this season, particularly of late, so now he is trying to figure things out in a different role.

"The biggest thing for me was the walks and just throwing strikes. That's probably something I want to focus on," Corbin said. "I'm just trying to go out there and have good outings and try to build from that. I don't plan on staying in the bullpen, so I'm just trying to do what I can in this role to help us win and just try to get better."

Corbin has been one of the biggest surprises for the D-backs this season -- in a bad way. After missing all of 2014 and the first half of '15 following Tommy John surgery, he posted a 3.60 ERA in 16 starts last year.

This year, Corbin is 4-12 with a 5.58 ERA in 24 starts. He had a 6.75 ERA in his last 15 starts and a 7.12 ERA in eight starts since the beginning of July.

Corbin lost for the third straight outing in his last start against, Friday the Red Sox. He gave up eight runs (four earned) on nine hits in just 1 2/3 innings.

But appearances such as Tuesday's, when Corbin allowed a hit and struck out two in a pair of scoreless innings, give the left-hander optimism he can return to form.

"The results weren't there, so it's good to feel good and go out there and have some good results," Corbin said.

D-backs manager Chip Hale said Corbin's changeup looked more effective on Tuesday -- another key for the left-hander to improve.

"Whether you want to call it a demotion or whatever you want to call it, he knows he has to work on some stuff," Hale said. "He got outs, he got two innings for us, which was huge, and it was a step forward."

Jake Rill is a reporter for MLB.com based in Phoenix. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.