Perhaps the biggest storyline over the last couple of weeks of spring training for the Arizona Diamondbacks has been the play of pitcher Josh Collmenter. It was somewhat of a surprise that he was named the number three starter over veterans Trevor Cahill and Joe Saunders, despite having a rough spring.
It was just Monday that manager Kirk Gibson made it sound like Collmenter might find himself out of the rotation, mainly because of the performance of Corbin. When asked on Monday about what Corbin was battling for, Gibby said, "He's competing for a spot on the team." What type? "We'll see. There's many different combinations I've considered," he responded. When the follow-up question mentioned the starting rotation being set, Gibby answered, "Well, you always consider changes."
This exchange led beat writer Nick Piecoro to tweet this:
I've learned in the year-plus covering him not to read too much into anything he says. However: Doesn't sound great for Collmenter.— Nick Piecoro (@nickpiecoro) April 2, 2012
It appears, though, that Gibson was perhaps playing around a little bit with the media.
Before Collmenter's start on Tuesday, Gibson said about his starter, "I'd like to see him throw the ball better, but if he doesn't it doesn't change anything."
In other words, his spot is set. He should improve, but he's not losing his job.
Collmenter himself echoed these sentiments after his start, in which he threw three hitless innings, allowing only an unearned run. When asked about Gibson reassuring him about his starting spot, Collmenter said, "he's had my back this entire time and he's been great about that."
He acknowledged that it was his job to "reward his trust in him," but it would seem that despite everyone's trying to speculate, there wasn't much there.
At the end of the day, Gibson knew this -- Collmenter was very effective for an extended period of time during a pennant race. He showed what he could do. Corbin, as good as he has been in the spring, has not yet shown that at the major league level.
With Opening Day on Friday, we can finally turn the page on this apparent non-story and get to meaningful baseball with Collmenter tomahawking the ball to big league hitters all season.
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