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Arizona Diamondbacks’ Patrick Corbin solid in Cactus League debut

Arizona Diamondbacks' Patrick Corbin works against the Colorado Rockies during the first inning a spring training baseball game on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Trade rumors surrounded Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Patrick Corbin for much of the offseason. The Milwaukee Brewers and New York Yankees both reportedly expressed interest in acquiring the 28-year-old left-handed starter.

Yet, there was Corbin, still wearing Sedona red and black, on the mound making his Cactus League debut against the Colorado Rockies at Salt River Fields on Wednesday.

The D-backs lost the game, 9-3, in front of an announced crowd of 5,799. Center fielder Rey Fuentes hit a two-run home run, while first baseman Paul Goldschmidt had an RBI single to account for the home team’s three runs.

Corbin, meanwhile, pitched two innings, allowing one run on two hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out two. Corbin also picked off a runner.

“It felt good to just be back out there. First time in a long time,” he said. “Just sitting down and getting up for that second inning was the only thing that we’ve done different so far. Just was trying to go out there, throw strikes and throw every pitch which we were able to do. Felt pretty good.”

Corbin worked a quick 1-2-3 first inning, striking out both left-handed hitters David Dahl and Charlie Blackmon; both of whom looked at 93-mph fastballs for strike three.

Then, with one out in the second inning, Corbin left a fastball up in the zone that designated hitter Tom Murphy crushed three-quarters up the berm in left field.

Rockies right fielder Raimel Tapia accounted for the other hit off Corbin. He grounded a ball just past second baseman Daniel Descalso. Tapia didn’t remain on the bases long, however. He was picked off attempting to steal second base for out No. 3.

“It seemed like it took awhile to get out there,” Corbin said of being the last of the D-backs’ projected starting rotation to see game action this spring. “But, it felt good, felt ready and just looking forward to the next one.”

Over his two innings and eight batters faced, Corbin threw 29 pitches, including 19 strikes and four first-pitch strikes. His fastball consistently registered in the low 90s, twice topping out at 93.8 mph.

And as far as being the subject of trade rumors, Corbin, who has spent his entire six-year big-league career with the D-backs, paid them no attention.

“I had no idea. I was just getting ready for the season, really. Stayed out here most of the time and was working out here,” he said. “I understand. It’s my last year before free agency. It seems like it happens to those players at that stage. I’m excited to be here and try to help this team win.”

BASE HITS

— Making his second spring outing, right-handed reliever Yoshi Hirano allowed two runs on three hits, including a pair of doubles, with one strikeout.

The game was tied at 1 when Hirano entered to pitch the fifth inning.

“I know that there’s a natural adjustment for him coming over from another country, whether it be the landing area on the mound, whether it be the slope of the mound, whether it be the size of the baseballs; and then on top of that,” manager Torey Lovullo said, “you throw in some anxiety and nerves and just the newness of this environment is a challenge for anybody.”

— The D-backs’ closer competition features Hirano, Brad Boxberger and Archie Bradley.

Boxberger was scheduled to make his second appearance this spring on Tuesday in Scottsdale. He was, however, not one of the nine relievers used.

“He’s feeling fine. It’s just a process that he walks through,” Lovullo said. “We listen to our players. We listen to how they feel and what they do and we don’t want to interrupt things. We know that he has a style to prepare himself and we’re aligned with that.

“He voiced his opinion that he wanted to throw a bullpen before his next outing and I haven’t yet to find out if that’s what he normally does. I just think he’s listening to his body.”

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