Corbin, Cahill to start for D-backs in Australia
Players amused by manager Gibson announcing big news via Twitter
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- In the end, the only real surprise when it came to who the D-backs would start in the first two games of the regular season in Sydney, Australia, was in how the news was delivered.
Manager Kirk Gibson tweeted, yes you read that right, on Monday morning the news that Patrick Corbin and Trevor Cahill would start the season-opening series against the Dodgers on March 22 and 23.
"In the training room, he said he was going to announce it later today, and he said through Twitter," Corbin said. "And I kind of laughed a little bit because I don't really see him as a Twitter guy. I don't know, him on Twitter is just really hilarious to me."
While Gibson being on Twitter is a little hard to get one's mind around, the decision to start Corbin and Cahill makes perfect sense.
Corbin was the team's ace last season -- 14-8 with a 3.41 ERA -- and while Cahill had a down year in 2013, the D-backs have liked the way he's looked this spring and believe he's poised for a bounce-back season.
Gibson met Monday morning with general manager Kevin Towers, pitching coach Mike Harkey, pitching consultant Dave Duncan and bullpen coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. and the group was unanimous in deciding on Corbin and Cahill.
"We considered everybody, honestly," Gibson said. "For me, as I looked at it earlier in the winter, this was one of the things I considered and it ended up playing out. We're in total agreement on it. [Corbin] came in in great shape, he's throwing the ball very well for us. We thought he deserved to be our starter in Game 1 and I liked the matchup with Cahill as well in Game 2."
It will be the first Opening Day start of Corbin's career. Last year, he came to Spring Training in a battle to win the No. 5 spot in the rotation.
"I mean it's an honor," Corbin said. "I think everybody wants to start the first game and that's how I prepared myself this offseason."
While Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke created a stir with his recent comments that he had "zero excitement" for going to Australia, both Corbin and Cahill had different takes.
This will be Corbin's second trip to Australia. He was part of a delegation that went to Sydney during the offseason to promote the game.
"I'm looking forward to it, getting a break from these Spring Training games and having a regular season game," Corbin said. "I was fortunate to have an opportunity to go over there, the Diamondbacks sent me over there and I got to see what Sydney was all about and where we'll be playing. I'm just as excited to be going back there. The people there were awesome they took care of us."
Cahill pitched for Team USA in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China and said he welcomes another trip overseas.
"The whole jetlag thing I didn't really notice it that much," Cahill said. "If anything [it's] on the way back and we'll have plenty of time to get recalibrated. It should be exciting. It should be fun."
While the trip may be something to look forward to, both pitchers said they needed to treat the games themselves just like ordinary regular season games in order to be at their best.
"I think it's an honor and I'm excited, but I think the biggest thing for me and Corbin to do is just treat it like any other game," Cahill said. "I think both of us will pitch better if we just treat like any other game."
In order to get their pitchers ready for the early start to the season, the D-backs reported to camp earlier than any other team and had their pitchers throw simulated games before the Cactus League got underway.
Because of that, D-backs pitchers were prepared to throw four innings and 60 pitches in their first spring outings rather than three and 45 as usual. The plan is for both pitchers to be prepared to throw 100 pitches if need be during that opening series.
"I'm not going to change my routine or anything like that," Corbin said. "I'm just going to try and be as best prepared as I can for that game and I think they've done a great job so far in allowing us to be prepared as we can, and letting us know in advance so we can get our mindset right for that start."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.