Outlook: Low strikeout rate limits Cahill's upside

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Trevor Cahill tried to look at the bright side after a disappointing start Thursday against the A's.

"You want the results, but I was at least able to maintain the same mechanics," Cahill said. "If you want to take something positive away, that's the one thing I can think of."

Cahill allowed six runs on eight hits over three innings in what ended as an 8-8 tie with Oakland.

"They're a good team; they swing the bats well," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "If you don't pitch them good, they tag you, and they did. Trevor didn't make the pitches that he needed to make, didn't really follow the game plan we had talked about. He wasn't able to execute it, so it was one of those days. He wasn't very sharp today."

The performance does not affect Cahill's status for the regular season. He was tabbed by Gibson to start the second game of two to be played against the Dodgers in Sydney, Australia.

"He's starting in Australia," Gibson said. "I'm not worried about it."

Cahill will get two more starts before the team departs for Australia.

"I think going in I kind of worried about mechanics," Cahill said. "I felt good on that front. The results, you definitely want; you want to see it translate. But it wasn't there today. I'll kind of regroup and work on some stuff for five days from now."

Worth noting

• Outfielder Cody Ross got seven to nine at-bats in a Minor League simulated game Wednesday, and he may try sliding within a week.

• Right-hander Archie Bradley, rated the No. 5 overall prospect by MLB.com, will start against the Angels on Saturday in Tempe. Veteran Brandon McCarthy will start the other half of the split-squad game that day against the White Sox in Glendale.

Bo Schultz will start Sunday against the Padres at Salt River Fields, while Randall Delgado will throw in a Minor League game that day.

• The competition for the starting shortstop job remains tight between Didi Gregorius and Chris Owings.

"Defensively, I think you'd give Didi an edge; offensively, give Owings an edge," Gibson said. "We knew that going in. Didi's probably got a little more range, a little more athletic with his arm. C.O. is probably a little more vanilla fielding, but then again offensively I would say C.O. probably has a little more in there. So they're both very talented young kids with good futures with us."

• Gibson said Bronson Arroyo's back was better Thursday, one day after receiving an epidural shot.

"Bronson's around today," Gibson said. "He feels much better, he's improved, so we still feel there's enough time for him to be ready by the beginning of the season for whenever we might slot him in."