Martin impresses in long-awaited return

May 19th, 2021

The last time was in Los Angeles, it was July 2019 and he was having Tommy John surgery.

On Tuesday, the D-backs' No. 7 prospect stepped to the mound at Dodger Stadium and threw his first pitch in a big league game since June 3, 2019, and while the result wasn't what he wanted -- the D-backs fell, 9-1 -- it was the end of one chapter in his career and the beginning of a new one.

Martin, who dominated in two starts at Triple-A Reno this year, allowed three runs on four hits over five innings with all the runs coming via two home runs -- Mookie Betts’ leadoff shot in the first and Chris Taylor’s two-run homer in the fifth.

Martin was acquired by the D-backs at the 2019 Trade Deadline, just after he had the surgery, as part of the deal that sent Zack Greinke to the Astros. He spent the rest of '19 rehabbing, and he pitched at Arizona’s alternate training site last year.

"Man, it's been a long two years, to say the least," Martin said. "From the second I got to the field, [the nerves] kind of kicked in. I feel like I get that feeling every time I pitch, and it was just a little bit more today. Just being such a long road getting back and especially pitching against the Dodgers. [They have a] really good lineup, and I just wanted to go out there and compete and get as far as I could into the game."

Martin came as advertised. He flashed a high-octane fastball in the mid to upper 90s, and he mixed in his offspeed pitches. The one area that the team had wanted him to work on since Spring Training was command, and it was the one area of his game that wasn't quite as sharp as it needed to be Tuesday, as he walked four.

"It was pretty frustrating," Martin said. "I strive off throwing strikes, attacking guys, and when I wasn't doing it earlier in camp, it was one of those things that I had to, you know, take every day and just learn what I was doing right, what I was doing wrong and kind of fine-tune it when I got to Reno."

In two starts for Reno, Martin compiled a 1.86 ERA. He walked six in 9 2/3 innings, but only two over five innings in his final start there.

The D-backs likely would have given Martin more time to develop before calling him up, but with starters Zac Gallen, Luke Weaver and Taylor Widener on the injured list, the team needed some rotation help.

"Corbin Martin came in here and did a fantastic job on a big stage," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "Corbin handled all that we threw at him -- from controlling the running game to the game-planning and execution. So I couldn't be more pleased with what we saw from him today. I know he got nicked up for the three runs, but all and all, he kept us in the game and gave us a chance to win"

Lovullo wasn't prepared to say whether Martin would remain in the big leagues and take his next turn through the rotation. The injuries have left the D-backs scrambling so much that they didn't announce Martin as their starter until Tuesday morning, and as he finished his postgame media session, Lovullo said they had not settled on a starter for Wednesday night opposite Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium.

"Well, I liked what I saw and I think everyone that was watching liked it, too. So we'll have those discussions," Lovullo said.