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4/19/2014 8:14 P.M. ET

Cahill uses adrenaline, thinks less in first relief outing

LOS ANGELES -- Desperate to get right-hander Trevor Cahill on the right track, the D-backs shifted him to the bullpen in hopes the change of scenery would help him.

The results Friday night against the Dodgers were encouraging.

Cahill came on in the 12th to protect a two-run lead and had probably his cleanest inning of the year as he retired Andre Ethier, Yasiel Puig and Justin Turner on 11 pitches to record his first career save.

"The biggest thing is just going out there and putting together a good outing and doing something positive for the team, which I haven't done all year," Cahill said.

It was his first relief appearance this season and just the second of his Major League career.

Ask Cahill what the experience is like and you get a glimpse as to what might be the key to him having similar success as a starter -- less thought.

"It's straight adrenaline," Cahill said of the bullpen. "You don't have the nerves all day before a start. You're just down there and every time the phone rings, you get some butterflies, and when they finally called my name, it was just normal. I knew I had time, so I just did my normal pregame routine and then just went out there and threw as hard as I could. You have less time to think about it, you don't have to worry about pacing yourself. The phone rings, the adrenaline hits and you just go out there and try and make as many good pitches as possible."

Cahill looked more than comfortable on Saturday night in the D-backs' 8-6 loss, working three hitless innings and striking out four of the nine batters he faced.

Relaxed Thatcher attacking hitters out of bullpen

LOS ANGELES -- Joe Thatcher this season is pitching like the pitcher D-backs GM Kevin Towers thought he was getting last year when he acquired him from the Padres.

After the July deal, Thatcher compiled a 6.75 ERA, and by the end of the season, the left-handed specialist was struggling against lefties and righties.

In eight appearances this season, Thatcher has a 1.29 ERA.

"Just attacking the strike zone," Thatcher said. "Making pitches, going after guys."

As for his struggles last year, Thatcher said he never lost faith in his ability.

"That wasn't who I was," he said, adding that after going through Spring Training with the D-backs, he now feels more a part of the team than he did last year.

So far, Thatcher has even been effective against right-handers, holding them to two hits in 12 at-bats.

Worth noting

• With the return of Cody Ross, the D-backs have four outfielders -- Ross, Gerardo Parra, A.J. Pollock and Mark Trumbo -- for three spots.

Friday, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson gave Trumbo his first day off of the season and played Ross in left. Saturday, it was Pollock getting the day off, with Ross in right and Parra shifting to center.

"I'm going to rotate those guys," Gibson said. "They'll have to pull for each other."

• Trumbo entered Saturday's game in an 0-for-12 stretch, and Gibson hit him seventh for the first time this season rather than his usual sixth. Trumbo singled in his first at-bat and finished 2-for-4 with a run scored.

• Shortstop Didi Gregorius hit a three-run walk-off homer for Triple-A Reno on Friday night.

Gregorius, who lost out in the starting shortstop battle with Chris Owings this spring, had five RBIs in the game.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.