SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- A rough end to an otherwise spectacular spring didn't dim the prospects of Arizona's young left-hander Patrick Corbin making it to the big leagues soon.
In fact, manager Kirk Gibson wouldn't even rule out the 22-year-old left-hander being on the opening day roster.This even though Gibson had already announced the rotation."Well, you always consider changes," Gibson said after the Chicago Cubs pounded the Diamondbacks 8-3 on Monday in Arizona's final game of the year at its spring training facility.Corbin, who had allowed one earned run in 15 2/3 innings going into the game, gave up seven runs, six earned, and six hits in 5 1/3 innings.He said he just left a few too many fastballs up in the sixth, but was extremely happy with his off-speed stuff before that.Going into the sixth, Corbin had retired 13 in a row before sixth-inning troubles that Gibson blamed on fatigue."He's competing for a spot on the team," Gibson said. "What kind of spot? I don't know."Corbin is one of three top young pitching prospects nearly ready for the majors. Corbin, fellow left-hander Tyler Skaggs and right-hander Trevor Bauer all could begin the season at Double-A Mobile.Geovany Soto hit a two-run homer and Starlin Castro doubled twice for the Cubs, who wrap up spring training against Milwaukee on Tuesday.Reed Johnson and Darwin Barney also had two hits apiece for the Cubs, whose fans made up a good share of the crowd in the 14th consecutive sellout for the Diamondbacks at Salt River Fields.Chicago opens its season at Wrigley Field on Thursday against Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals.Arizona plays preseason games against Milwaukee at Chase Field on Tuesday and Wednesday, then begins defense of its NL West title Friday against San Francisco, with the Diamondbacks sending Ian Kennedy against the Giants' Tim Lincecum."Spring training's long. We're all probably beat up now a little bit," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "You see a little bit of the energy dropping the last three or four days, not so much on the field, but in drills and stuff, and that's been going on for 100 years. Guys have just had enough. It's time to get started and get a whole `nother energy level built up."Kerry Wood pitched a perfect fifth inning to get the win on Monday. Wood has pitched just five innings this spring."That's just a number," he said. "I feel good. My body feels ready to go."He added that with side sessions and other activity he has had plenty of work to be ready.Arizona's Chris Young hit his fifth homer of the spring and second in as many games. Young hit .407 this spring. Half of his 24 hits were for extra bases, seven doubles and five homers."It felt good," he said. "I was able to bring what I worked extremely hard on in the offseason to the game and allow myself to stick with it and see what kind of results could come if I could be consistent and not stray away from it."But at the same time you're just trying to get ready for the season. I'm going to go into the season probably the same mentally if I hit .100 this spring."No matter what happened, he said, "I was going to go into this season with a positive mindset."Corbin had held Colorado hitless in five innings in his previous outing. The only earned run he had allowed was in his first appearance of the spring. He said he felt he showed he belongs in the majors, if not at the start then soon."I feel like I have," he said. "It's just a matter of time and getting your opportunity."
The Diamondbacks announced that Friday's season opener against San Francisco is sold out. ... Cubs starter Jay Jackson, also expected to start the season in the minors, allowed three runs and five hits in four innings. ... Soto has three home runs this spring and is hitting .300. ... In a rather unusual play, the Cubs scored a run on Alfonso Soriano's first-inning sacrifice fly to second baseman Aaron Hill.