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."
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.