D-backs to look internally for fifth starter

Jan 16, 2012, 6:48 PM | Updated: 6:58 pm

It appears the Arizona Diamondbacks’ youth movement starts now.

The D-backs may have lost out on veteran hurler Bartolo Colon but don’t expect the club to continue scouring the free agent market for their fifth starter.

Arizona Sports 620’s John Gambadoro tweeted:

Expect Dbacks to stop looking at free agent pitchers and go internally for 5th starter — Miley, Skaggs, Corbin or Bauer main candidates

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the D-backs are turning to their plethora of young arms in hopes that one will rise to the occasion during Spring Training and win the job outright.

In fact, some could argue that losing out on Colon could actually benefit the D-backs in the long haul. The burly right-hander’s career has been largely marred by injuries and, while Colon made a successful comeback with the Yankees last season, his production fell off dramatically down the stretch. The Bronx Bombers left Colon and his 0-4 record and 5.37 ERA in August and September off their playoff roster.

The D-backs’ apparent decision to now focus their efforts internally signals a strong vote of confidence towards handing the ball to one of their up and coming youngsters to round out a sterling rotation consisting of Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, Trevor Cahill and Josh Collmenter.

Miley may be the most Major League-ready out of the group and also the odds-on favorite to land the job heading into camp. The 25-year-old left-hander made seven starts for the D-backs last season and posted a 4-2 record with a 4.50 ERA in 40 innings pitched.

All eyes will surely be on the highly touted Trevor Bauer, who was selected by the D-backs with the third pick overall in the 2011 MLB draft. Tyler Skaggs has also emerged as one of the team’s top prospects. He was 4-1 with a 2.50 ERA for the Double-A Mobile BayBears in 2011. Patrick Corbin, a former second round pick in 2009, was acquired by the D-backs along with Joe Saunders in the Dan Haren deal. He flourished in 2010, posting a 13-4 record and 3.42 ERA, but struggled last year to a 9-8 record with an inflated 4.21 ERA.

The fifth starter battle is shaping up to be one of the most tantalizing storylines of Spring Training – will youth trump experience after all?

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