"I kind of surprised myself with my command," Cashner said.
Cashner has been on the disabled list since June 21 with right shoulder soreness. He might have been back by now, but he was slowed before the All-Star break, not because of his shoulder, but because of soreness in his neck.
Cashner took a notable step forward Sunday when he threw off a mound before the Padres faced the Braves at Turner Field. He threw fastballs and changeups and worked up a good sweat.
Cashner enjoyed every minute of it, mostly because this day marked a step toward his ultimate goal -- getting back into a real game.
"It felt good," he said. "It's been frustrating not being able to play, but we've had a lot of guys step up. It has been impressive."
What's next for Cashner? He hopes another bullpen session when the team returns to Petco Park next week and then a Minor League rehabilitation assignment soon after.
"I hope to be back soon -- sooner than they think, I'm sure," Cashner said, smiling.
Cashner is 2-6 with a 2.36 ERA in 12 starts. He also missed time in May with soreness in his right elbow.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.