PHOENIX -- D-backs right-hander Brandon McCarthy took another step toward returning to the rotation when he threw a simulated game Tuesday.
McCarthy, who has been on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation since May 31, threw two 20-pitch innings.
"It went well," McCarthy said. "Just getting back game strength, getting back up and down and getting fatigued so it was all good."
It was the first time that manager Kirk Gibson had watched McCarthy throw in a while, and he liked what he saw.
"He looked good," Gibson said. "He threw the ball really good today. I was surprised how well he threw the ball. Good fastball, his cutter was good, threw some good curveballs, some good life in his arm."
McCarthy will throw a bullpen session Thursday and then 60-70 pitches in another simulated game Sunday.
The process is a familiar one for McCarthy, who has suffered a similar injury in each of the last five seasons.
"It's normal progression," he said of the simulated game. "I'm just checking to see that everything is where I want it to be. A few years ago you get nervous for it, but now it's just another thing to do. But I'm glad I felt like I was where I needed to be."
D-backs look for Eaton to add a spark
PHOENIX -- Outfielder Adam Eaton walked into the D-backs clubhouse just before batting practice Monday, wheeling his luggage from a Minor League rehab stint.
Eaton's return was a bit ahead of schedule, but for him it's been long overdue.
During Spring Training, Eaton suffered a strained elbow and he started the year on the disabled list. During his first rehab stint, he suffered a setback when he felt pain in the elbow while making a throw. That came just days before he was expected to return.
"It only hurt on one throw and it's felt great ever since," Eaton said. "I'm very excited for the opportunity and hopefully I can stir it up a little bit and get things going."
Eaton had projected to be the D-backs' leadoff hitter heading into Spring Training, and the team is hopeful that his addition will provide a spark before the All-Star break.
"There's an element that he brings that we all saw in Spring Training before he got hurt, and it's time to see if he can withstand the daily grind," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "Try to get him to that point and hopefully he's healthy for the rest of the year and can contribute in the way we think he can."
While his return may have been a few days ahead of schedule, the D-backs do not think there was any more to be gained by having him remain in the Minors.
"He shouldn't hurt it," Gibson said of Eaton's elbow. "But if he does we'll know that he has to have surgery."
Tuesday's game was the 90th of the year for the D-backs, but for Eaton it was Game No. 1.
"Definitely feels like Opening Day," Eaton said. "A well deserved Opening Day."
Right-hander Charles Brewer was optioned to Triple-A Reno to make room for Eaton.
Cahill reports progress with injured shoulder
PHOENIX -- D-backs right-hander Trevor Cahill said his ailing right shoulder felt better after playing catch Monday.
Cahill was initially put on the disabled list last week with a right hip contusion, but experienced some tightness in his shoulder while throwing a few days ago.
"I played catch yesterday it was a lot better," Cahill said before Tuesday night's game. "Just kind of monitor it, make sure it's good."
For now Cahill is taking things slow, just playing catch from around 90 feet.
"He might throw a bullpen sometime this week," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said.
Chavez scratched with stiff right hip
PHOENIX -- D-backs third baseman Eric Chavez was scratched from Tuesday's starting lineup with stiffness in his right hip.
Chavez had been slated to play third base and hit fourth, but the club made the move after batting practice.
Martin Prado moved from left field to third base and Jason Kubel was inserted into the lineup in left field.
Chavez was on the disabled list from May 31 until June 28 with an oblique strain.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.