Davey Martinez had a clear message for Patrick Corbin from the start this spring: Put 2020 and 2021 behind you and get back to being the pitcher you were in 2019 when you helped win a World Series, and before that, when your work earned you a 6-year/$140M deal.
“I think he’s going to have a year that he’s had in the past,” Martinez told reporters on Day 1 of Spring Training for the Washington Nationals.
“I told him before we left last year to put this year behind you and come back to being who you are, and I think he’s one of the guys that took it to heart. He’s in great shape.
“He threw the ball well today, so we’ll build off of that, but I think he’s going to have a good bounce-back year.”
Over the first three years in D.C. Corbin has a combined 4.47 ERA, 4.34 FIP, 148 walks, and 441 Ks in 75 starts and 439 1⁄3 IP, with a 5.50 ERA, 5.06 FIP, 78 walks, and 203 Ks in the last two seasons, after he put up a 3.25 ERA, a 3.49 FIP, 70 walks, and 238 Ks in 33 starts and a total of 202 IP in the first year of his contract with the Nationals.
“When I saw Patrick I told him hey, it’s a fresh start for him in 2022,” Martinez added on Day 2 in West Palm Beach, FL.
“I don’t even want him to think, I don’t want him to go back and look at what happened last year, let’s just focus on the here and now and move forward, and he’s in a good place.
“He threw a bullpen yesterday and he looked really, really good. So, we’re just going to build off of that.
“I don’t want him to think about — we all know that things didn’t go well for him last year, but we want him to get back to the form that he was in ‘19, the guy that helped us win a World Series championship.”
“I think we can learn from what happened and move forward,” Corbin told reporters last week, as quoted by MLB.com’s Jessica Camerato, when asked about moving on from a couple tough seasons the last two years.
“I know what I’m capable of doing out there, and I really forgot kind of how those last two seasons went.
Hopefully now, we can just kind of get on a normal schedule, have things back to normal and be able to go out there and compete like I love to do.”
Corbin’s talked previously about issues in 2020 carrying over to 2021 and keeping him from doing what he’s capable of doing.
“I think maybe last year developed some bad habits that possibly came into this year and took a while to correct,” he explained at the end of the ‘21 campaign, “and was definitely very frustrating, so hopefully a couple of changes that I did, will just continue to try to get better with those things.”
In two starts and nine innings pitched this spring, Corbin has given up six hits, with four unearned runs scoring in his outings, in which he’s walked two, and struck out 10, while holding opposing hitters to a .182 AVG.
Martinez named the 32-year-old left-hander his Opening Day starter on Saturday. Corbin will take on the New York Mets when the Nats kick things off this Thursday at 4:05 PM in D.C.
Our Opening Day starter:— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) April 2, 2022
Patrick Corbin#NATITUDE pic.twitter.com/MEbsxHGy0O
“He had a good camp,” Martinez said, as quoted on MLB.com. “He feels strong, and he’s throwing the ball where he wants to throw it, so it’s good.”
“Some of the things we talked to him about at the end of last year,” the manager added, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman.
“He really came in and worked on a lot of things this winter and came back and feels strong.
“He’s throwing the ball where he wants to throw it. I’m looking forward to watching him go out there and compete April 7.”