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On the day Trevor Cahill was designated for assignment by the Arizona Diamondbacks, the team was 10 games below .500 and 15.0 games back in the National League West.

That was June 9.

Over a month later, on Thursday, the Diamondbacks are in no better shape -- 16 games below .500, though having picked up a game and a half in the division, coming by way of poor play by the San Francisco Giants.

Cahill on Friday will hope to prove the same isn't true for him. Facing the visiting Chicago Cubs, he'll look to manifest signs of progress made while in the lower ranks -- first with High-A Visalia and then with Triple-A Reno.

There, he pitched to a 4.45 ERA in seven starts, going 2-3, walking 20 in 28.1 innings -- hardly progress on paper.

But Cahill indicated Thursday that the assignment wasn't so much about things tangible in the box score.

"Just some mechanical things," he said talking about what he had worked to correct. "Tried to change up my delivery a bit."

Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson spoke earlier in the season about Cahill's inconsistent arm slot, which seems to gradually drop as games carry on.

Catcher Miguel Montero, Cahill's primary pitch caller, has had a first class view for much of the pitcher's major league-level struggles. He knows what he'd like to see different from the right-hander in this renewed stint.

"Hopefully he cleared his head down there and hopefully he built up his confidence level," Montero said Thursday. "I think that was the whole idea because we all know his stuff is good enough to pitch in the big leagues. He just kind of lost confidence in his pitches and was trying to do too much. And he just kind of lost everything after that."

Everything, Montero should say, but the most important thing -- talent.

"he's got the arm, he's got the stuff to be a great pitcher in the big leagues," the catcher went on.

Now returned to Chase Field, Cahill stood at his locker taking in something all major leaguers can enjoy in mid-July -- a fresh start. On Friday, he gets a chance to salvage something -- for both him and his major league team -- in the second half

"It feels good to be back," Cahill said. "And I'm trying to help the team win and finish the season strong."

Arizona Sports' Alice Nerini contributed to this report.

Jules Tompkins,

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