2013 Outlook: Cahill needs to improve at home in 2013

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- It would have been hard for D-backs right-hander Trevor Cahill to have had a better final outing of the spring.

Cahill struck out 11 and allowed one unearned run in 5 2/3 innings against a lineup composed of Rangers Minor Leaguers.

"All their guys weren't here, so it was kind of a good day for him to just come out and relax," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said.

Cahill finished the spring with a 1.86 ERA and is slated to start the second game of the season Tuesday against the Cardinals.

"I felt a lot better today than I have," Cahill said. "I was throwing my sinker for strikes and throwing to both sides of the plate, which I feel like is the first time I've done that consistently this spring. Just command of everything [today]. I feel like so far this spring it's been one or two pitches not all four, but I felt like I had all four today."

Cahill threw 88 pitches, 63 for strikes.

"Going a little bit longer, stretching it out a little bit," Cahill said of his longest outing of the spring. "Just hopefully my body bounces back for Tuesday."

Snake bites

• Outfielder Jason Kubel played in a Minor League game for the second straight day Thursday. Kubel, who twisted his left ankle Tuesday night, has slumped this spring, but felt good Wednesday in going 4-for-7 with a pair of home runs.

Kubel is expected to be healthy enough to start the season, but if the ankle problem were to keep him out from Monday's game, Gibson said he would consider using Martin Prado in left and Eric Chavez at third.

• The injury to Willie Bloomquist makes it likely that veteran Josh Wilson will make the team as a backup infielder.

The only thing that would change that at this point would be an injury to Wilson or if the D-backs decide to acquire a backup infielder via trade or off the waiver wire as other teams pare their rosters.

"Personally, for me, Josh has worked hard in camp, he's been here before," Gibson said. "I hope he will be rewarded for his efforts, but that's not to say something won't happen."

• Shortstop Didi Gregorius (elbow) could play defensively in a game for the first time this spring sometime between April 10-12. Despite not playing defensively during the spring, Gregorius has been able to acclimate himself to the D-backs way of doing things.

"He's got a lot to learn," Gibson said. "But overall he's a good kid, he listens and he worked on a lot of things while he had the opportunity to do so, and it should work out good for us in the future."