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Arizona Diamondbacks

D-backs hope Trevor Cahill can ‘work things out' in bullpen

Arizona Diamondbacks' Trevor Cahill, left, waits for a new baseball as Los Angeles Dodgers' Adrian Gonzalez rounds the bases after hitting a three-run home run during the third inning of a baseball game on Sunday, April 13, 2014, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)

PHOENIX -- Four starts into his 2014 campaign, the Arizona Diamondbacks have seen enough out of right-hander Trevor Cahill -- at least as it pertains to his role in the starting rotation.

Manager Kirk Gibson announced before Monday night's game against the New York Mets that Cahill, who has allowed 18 runs and issued 13 walks in 17.2 innings of work this season, would be transitioning to an undetermined role in the bullpen effective immediately.

"He's thrown the ball well at times, just never very consistent," Gibson said. "We had a long conversation with Hark, K.T. and Trevor. He's busting his tail, and he's frustrated with the results as well. Hopefully, this will get him back on track. We all know he's capable."

Cahill's potential has never been questioned during his tenure in Arizona. His ability to consistency put zeroes on the board has, however.

Since being acquired from the Oakland Athletics in Dec. 2011, Cahill has been a model of mediocrity, sporting a 21-26 record with a 4.13 ERA, 1.38 WHIP and 3.8 walks per nine innings.

While he vowed this spring that he was returning to form as far as mechanics were concerned, his four outings early in the campaign suggest otherwise.

"I'm just not pitching well," Cahill said. "There are no excuses. Obviously, I want to go out there and pitch as much as possible. Sometimes though, if they feel it's not the move, it's not the move.

"I was getting hit [this spring], but I felt good command-wise. It was probably the best I've felt in two years. That's why I was getting curious as to why I was getting hit, maybe it was sequences or whatever. Once the games started, maybe I was trying to do too much not to get hit. That led to walks and the whole cycle of falling behind."

In his place, 26-year-old Mike Bolsinger will take the bump Saturday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Bolsinger, a 15th-round pick of the D-backs back in 2010, went 7-7 with a 4.72 ERA at Triple-A Reno a season ago, but improved upon those numbers with a 2-0 mark in 2014 before Monday's call-up.

"I've never seen this guy not pitch well," D-backs general manager Kevin Towers said. "I've seen him in Visalia, I've seen him in Mobile and this spring he had a good spring for us. He reminds me a lot of [Josh] Collmenter. If you're a scout, you're probably not going to turn him in because he doesn't light up the gun.

"But, the results are always there. He stays off the barrel of the bat. He's got probably one of the better curveballs in our organization. He can throw it any time in the count. He's got no fear. He's a strike thrower."

While not as highly-touted as Archie Bradley, Bo Schultz, Chase Anderson or Zeke Spruill, Towers noted that Bolsinger gives the D-backs a dependable starting pitcher who can go five or six innings without issuing a lot of free passes -- something that has not been the case over the first 15 games of the season.

"Gibby and I talked to him at the end of spring," said Towers. "You never see his name in print. You always hear about Archie Bradley or Chase Anderson. But I said, ‘You're on our radar screen. Just keep doing what you're doing and you'll be a big league pitcher.'

"It's nice to be able to reward kids that weren't high-round picks who have kind of found their way through the system and eventually get their opportunity in the big leagues. Hopefully he capitalizes on it."

Bradley might have been the obvious choice to replace Cahill in the rotation, but Towers admitted that the organization didn't want to jeopardize its top prospect's psyche given the current state of the team.

"I think Archie needs probably more time down there, as well as I don't think this is the proper environment for him right now with what's going on with our ballclub," said Towers. "If we threw him in there, he'd be viewed as a savior. I don't think it's the right time now. If we were playing better baseball, then maybe. But, I don't want to put that on him."

The move is also intended to alleviate some pressure off of their beleaguered, and somewhat fragile 26-year-old hurler.

"We're behind Trevor," said Gibson. "He knows that. Sometimes the more you can think about things, it can complicate things. It's a delicate situation without the brain locking."

At the very least, the D-backs are hoping a change of scenery in the bullpen can help Cahill unlock his mind a little bit more on the mound.

Instead of grinding through at-bats, the goal is to get the six-year veteran to just pitch again.

"It might take a little pressure off of him," said Towers. "You can almost tell out there, I mean trying to execute pitches. Trying to go away and it goes inside. Trying to go inside and it goes away. It's tough when you're going through what he's going through. But with him in the bullpen, I think it will take a little bit of the edge off. I think the good thing for him is that he doesn't know when he's going to pitch.

"I think about the time he came in relief in Philly last year. It was one of the better four-inning outings that he's had. Hopefully this gets him back on track and takes the thought process out where he has to prepare for that every fifth day."

How long Cahill has this role is yet to be determined, but Towers is anticipating the move will get the pitcher back to where he's been in the past.

"For now I think Cahill needs to work some things out in the bullpen," he said. "This is not a short-term thing. This is hopefully long-term. Hopefully it'll be successful."

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