Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Corbin, Greinke journeys lead to ASG return

MLB.com @SteveGilbertMLB

For Patrick Corbin, his selection to the 2018 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard was validation that he had finally come all the way back from his '14 Tommy John surgery.

It has been quite a journey for Corbin. He still remembers that day four years ago when he found out his ulnar collateral ligament was torn.

For Patrick Corbin, his selection to the 2018 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard was validation that he had finally come all the way back from his '14 Tommy John surgery.

It has been quite a journey for Corbin. He still remembers that day four years ago when he found out his ulnar collateral ligament was torn.

As Corbin recalls, his D-backs teammates -- like fellow All-Star Paul Goldschmidt -- finished packing the last items they would need for the 15-hour flight for Australia later that night while he stood behind a podium in the team's interview room fighting back tears as he explained to the gathered media that not only would he not be able to start that game, but he also would miss at least a full season because of the procedure.

Afterwards, Corbin paced on a backfield at Salt River Fields in Arizona talking on the phone. An All-Star in 2013, Corbin knew the road ahead was going to be tough. Being selected for the '18 Midsummer Classic? That could not have entered his mind.

"You know how long you're going to be out for and how long of a rehab process it is," Corbin said. "So that's what you think about."

Video: Corbin, Goldy on going to the 2018 All-Star Game

Even when Corbin was able to finally return to the mound midway through the 2015 season, it took a lot longer than that before he fully felt like his old self.

Corbin pitched well in spurts, but it wasn't until the final couple of months of 2017 when things really started to click for him as he incorporated a slower breaking ball to go with his fastball and hard slider.

"I know I always had it in there," Corbin said. "Just took a little bit to figure out and get back. I feel really close to where I was, if not there, so just ready to get out there."

Tweet from @PatrickCorbin46: Excited to rep @Dbacks at the @MLB #AllStarGame. Thanks fans for all the support. pic.twitter.com/aHM56nImvN

Meanwhile, veteran right-hander Zack Greinke's fifth trip to the Midsummer Classic was a surprise to him given how he threw this spring.

"It's neat to actually be considered one of the best players in the world, on top of just being in the Major Leagues," Greinke said. "As a pitcher, very rarely do you find someone that is capable of doing four or five straight years or even two straight years. It's not easy to do."

This spring, Greinke did not feel close to the standard he had set over his illustrious career. His velocity down and his command off, a 34-year-old Greinke admitted he wasn't sure where he stood.

"It was extra bad this year," Greinke said of his spring. "It started working a little better. That last [exhibition] game against Cleveland, I still was throwing really slow, but at least I was throwing the ball where I wanted it. So it kind of got a little bit better then. Still, the stuff wasn't as good as it's been before."

Video: ARI@ATL: Greinke dazzles over 7 2/3 scoreless innings

The D-backs pushed back Greinke's first start of the season, and it was Corbin who took his place on Opening Day.

Greinke, meanwhile, steeled himself for possible failure heading into that first start.

"More afraid-of-failure type of thing," Greinke said. "I was just trying to not get upset if I gave up 10 runs a game and just trying to do as good as I could. That was kind of my goal going into the season was to keep a good mindset with whatever happens."

Keeping that mindset has not been hard as Greinke regained his pinpoint control and, along with knowledge gleaned over his 15 years in the big leagues, he is once again performing at a high level.

"As long as I can throw the ball where I want, I should be able to get some outs, at least," Greinke said. "It's not always that easy, either. So we'll see."

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

Arizona Diamondbacks, Patrick Corbin, Zack Greinke