SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Wade Miley passed a test on Sunday in his rebound from a "dead arm" period, but the left-hander is still not assured of making a start the first time through the rotation when the regular season begins.
With an off-day during the season's first week, the D-backs could skip a starter the first time through the rotation and plug that pitcher back in the rotation on April 9. They could put Miley on the 15-day disabled list to start the year and backdate it 10 days, so that he is eligible to come off by April 9.
Miley was scratched from his start on March 12 with arm fatigue, a common problem with pitchers during the spring, and pitched in an intrasquad game on March 18.
On Sunday, Miley allowed four runs on six hits in lasting 3 1/3 innings, but more important than the results was the way he threw the ball.
"I thought he threw the ball well," manager Kirk Gibson said. "It was a good step, the next step forward. Overall, I thought the ball came out of his hand well. Threw some good changeups. I think he was a little rusty to be honest with you, so overall I thought he was pretty solid."
Said Miley, "I felt fine. Everything was firm, I was able to throw in and out, changeup was good, slider was OK. I tried to throw a couple of curveballs in there. I was just trying to work on a few things, but overall I felt pretty good. My fastball felt like it had life on it. Everything was coming out good."
Initially the team talked about Miley starting the third game of the season, but if they feel he is behind the other starters, they could place him on the disabled list and carry an extra reliever or position player.
Miley said he didn't think a delay would be necessary.
"I feel like I'll be ready," he said.
Whether the team agrees with that assessment will become clear by Saturday.
Miley is slated to start against the Reds in the D-backs' final spring game. If he is going to start the year on the disabled list and not pitch until April 9, by rules that govern backdating a player, Miley will not be able to pitch in that game. Instead he will have to throw in a game to which admission is not charged to fans. In other words an extended spring game.
"We'll see how he feels [Monday]," Gibson said. I don't worry about the results. If he's healthy, he's going to be in our rotation."
As of right now, Ian Kennedy is set to start Opening Day against the Cardinals on Monday, April 1. The rest of the order is still up in the air, though, Trevor Cahill seems a safe bet to start the second game.