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Former D-backs LHP Patrick Corbin returns, will pitch Sunday

Starting pitcher Patrick Corbin #46 of the Washington Nationals throws a pitch in the first inning during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on July 13, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — It was rather apropos that as the Diamondbacks returned home Friday from a road trip that included the MLB trade deadline — and thus, the team was sporting a different roster — a former member of their ballclub was in the opposing dugout.

Patrick Corbin, who is now with the Washington Nationals after leaving in free agency this offseason and signing a six-year, $140 million deal, is back for the first time to visit the only team he had ever previously pitched a major-league game for. The D-backs visited Washington already in 2019, but Corbin did not pitch in the series.

“It’s good to be back,” Corbin said. “I got to stay at my house last night. Having the opportunity to see everyone here and being able to pitch here, I’m looking forward to. I missed them back in D.C. So, really excited to have an opportunity to face them, go out there and compete and I’m glad to be back.”

Corbin had former D-backs teammates over at his house Thursday night, fraternized with them on the field before Friday’s game and even visited the home clubhouse at Chase Field. Surely, Corbin still has friendships with many on the D-backs’ roster, but his goal is the same:

“Hopefully we go out there and get three wins,” he said.

The series between the Diamondbacks and Nationals is important, because the two teams are in the thick of the same Wild Card race in the National League (barring the Nationals taking a division lead in the NL East). Corbin (3.23 ERA) is an important part of a Nationals rotation that also includes Max Scherzer (also a former D-back) and Stephen Strasburg. He’ll pitch Sunday against Merrill Kelly.

On Friday, the changes that had been made for both the D-backs and Nationals clubhouses were a reminder of how mobile MLB can be. The Nationals added at the deadline some pieces for their bullpen, including former D-backs pitcher Daniel Hudson.

“I got to see Goldy earlier this year,” Corbin said of his former teammate, Paul Goldschmidt. “It was really strange seeing him in a different uniform. I thought he’d be a lifetime Diamondbacks, face of the franchise for I don’t know how many years. Pollock’s gone. We all came up together, played in A ball, Double-A. So definitely strange, but I guess starting to get used to it being at a different place, myself.

“I’ve always loved Arizona. Maybe when baseball’s done, [I’ll] live here.”

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