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Cahill ramping up for return to A's rotation

Despite strong spring debut, righty won't be starting option to begin season
MLB.com @JaneMLB

MESA, Ariz. -- Trevor Cahill was back on the slab in an A's uniform Thursday, completing two scoreless innings as he gears up for a starting assignment in Oakland again.

A's manager Bob Melvin confirmed Cahill won't be rotation-ready by the start of the regular season, but the right-hander will stick to the process in hopes of joining the staff at some point. The A's signed him to a one-year deal earlier this week.

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MESA, Ariz. -- Trevor Cahill was back on the slab in an A's uniform Thursday, completing two scoreless innings as he gears up for a starting assignment in Oakland again.

A's manager Bob Melvin confirmed Cahill won't be rotation-ready by the start of the regular season, but the right-hander will stick to the process in hopes of joining the staff at some point. The A's signed him to a one-year deal earlier this week.

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Cahill, 30, struck out three and walked two over two innings in Oakland's 4-2 loss to the Rockies in his first appearance opposite hitters since last season.

"It felt good," he said. "Just good to get that first one over with. There's always that extra adrenaline with a hitter in the box that you can't really prepare for in the offseason, so it's just good to get that one out of the way and hopefully I can take that and kind of settle down and settle into my normal rhythm.

"I was just going out there trying to be competitive and get those competitive juices going again and see how my stuff was going to work and how hitters were going to react, because no matter what you throw in the bullpen, hitters are going to let you know what's good and what's not."

Melvin was impressed by Cahill's work, saying, "It was pretty similar to what we've seen in the past. Good overhand sinker up to 93, good slider, good curveball. Pretty good for the first time out for a guy who hasn't thrown for a while."

Tweet from @Athletics: We've agreed to terms with free agent right-handed pitcher Trevor Cahill on a one-year contract. Cahill was originally selected by Oakland in the second round of the 2006 draft and made his Major League debut with the A���s in 2009 at the age of 21. Welcome back, Trevor! pic.twitter.com/pENDjDtCpL

The plan is for Cahill to reach the three-inning mark in his next outing, which will be against the Giants during next week's Bay Bridge Series.

"The last inning, I felt just as strong as the first, so knowing that, I felt like I could have gone back out there," he said. "It's always good to end strong."

Camp battles

On Thursday, Melvin fielded a potential Opening Day lineup, which featured Boog Powell in center field. Competition still exists at the position, with the A's trying to decide whether Dustin Fowler is season-ready at the big league level.

"It might be our last decision," Melvin said Thursday. "It's going to come down to whether or not we feel like with basically a full year off for Fowler, if he's up to speed. You hate to see him get off to a bad start and potentially have to send him down."

Should Fowler be sent to Triple-A, Melvin said, "We're comfortable with Smolinski and Powell," suggesting what has been expected all along: Jake Smolinski likely will land the final bench job.

Fowler looking to secure A's center-field job

Injury updates

Renato Nunez (left hamstring) was back in game action Thursday, clocking five innings at first base in a Minor League game. Reliever Ryan Dull, who had been sidelined by shoulder soreness, threw one inning in the same game.

Up next: Jesus Luzardo, the A's No. 2 prospect, gets a road start against the Angels on Friday, with first pitch at Tempe Diablo Stadium scheduled for 1:05 p.m. PT. The game can be viewed on MLB.TV and listened to via an exclusive audio webcast.

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB.

Oakland Athletics, Trevor Cahill