PHOENIX -- Entering his fourth week on the disabled list, D-backs right-hander Trevor Cahill's path back to the club's starting rotation is beginning to become clear. The 25-year-old threw a bullpen session Tuesday and will start for the Arizona League (Rookie) D-backs on Thursday against the Angels.
If that outing goes well, Cahill will progress to the final step of his rehab, a Minor League assignment.
"He feels good, feeling stronger," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "His mechanics are better and he's pain free."
Cahill, whose rehab was slowed by shoulder soreness a couple of weeks ago, has been sidelined since July 1 with a right hip contusion. Before the injury, he was 3-10 with a 4.66 ERA in 17 starts. He'll throw between 60-70 pitches Thursday.
Reynolds cleared to play catch, test elbow
PHOENIX -- After six weeks of doctor prescribed inactivity, D-backs reliever Matt Reynolds is scheduled to throw Wednesday for the first time since he incurred a slight tear in the ulnar collateral ligament of his left elbow on June 11.
Reynolds will be examined by team physicians in the afternoon and barring any unforeseen issues, he'll begin a throwing program that will eventually end with a Minor League rehab assignment.
Although Reynolds will only be playing catch Wednesday, picking up a baseball again marks a big first step for the southpaw, who initially thought he might need Tommy John surgery to repair the elbow.
"It'll be exciting to get out there and start doing what I'm here to do," Reynolds said. "It feels like it's been a whole offseason since I've thrown."
Prior to this year, the 28-year-old had never been on the disabled list before, which made being idle the last month-and-a-half test his patience even more.
"It's been tough to be on the sideline and just watch them," Reynolds said. "I'm essentially a glorified cheerleader. You try to keep focused and understand that the final goal is to be back on the field, and that's what I'm working towards. These are my guys, and I want to go out there and battle with them."
Before hitting the DL, Reynolds was arguably the most consistent performer in the D-backs' bullpen, posting a 1.98 ERA in 30 games and working 19 consecutive scoreless outings to start the season.
Chavez, Nieves in lineup as regulars given break
PHOENIX -- A trio of slumping mainstays were given the night off Tuesday as D-backs manager Kirk Gibson left Miguel Montero, Aaron Hill and Gerardo Parra out of the lineup against the Cubs.
Parra has tallied just two hits in his last 34 at-bats dating back to July 8, while Hill is 4-for-30 over his past eight games. Montero is batting .224 in July and is hitless in his last eight at-bats.
"I think with the struggles we've had, guys tend to grind more," Gibson said. "So we're kind of pulling them off a little bit, and hopefully they can work their way through and catch fire like other teams have done."
For Hill, Tuesday marked just the third time he hasn't been in the lineup since he came off the disabled list June 25. The second baseman hit .305 in his first 59 at-bats after being activated but hasn't been able to keep up the production.
"His swing has been off a bit of late," Gibson said. "I think he'll be fine, but just like everybody else, he expects to do it every time."
Replacing the regulars in the lineup Tuesday, Eric Chavez and Wil Nieves received their first starts since the All-Star break. Chavez injured his hip July 8 against the Dodgers and had been limited to a pinch-hitting role over the past two weeks.
"He feels healthy," Gibson said. "He's a good player, that's why we have him; he adds something to our lineup for sure."
As for Nieves, Gibson added that the veteran backup could get more playing time as the season moves along. The 35-year-old entered Tuesday hitting .357 in 70 at-bats this year while Montero has yet to put things fully together.
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.