Brandon McCarthy would like nothing more than to move on from the horrific line drive to the head injury which shut down his season in 2012.
His first spring appearance is a step in the right direction.
Almost six months after taking a line drive to the head as a member of the Oakland Athletics, McCarthy resurfaced on the mound Wednesday for the Arizona Diamondbacks and struck out four Cincinnati Reds batters during two shutdown innings of work.
Signed on a two year, 15 million dollar deal in the offseason, McCarthy projects behind: Ian Kennedy, Trevor Cahill and Wade Miley in the D-Backs’ rotation. He’s hoping he can concentrate on that more than talk about his injuries from the freak accident.
McCarthy suffered an epidural hemorrhage, skull fracture and a brain contusion after the Erick Aybar line drive in a game against the Angels last season. It was such a horrific injury, many were left wondering whether McCarthy would ever pitch in the big leagues again.
Now the righty is concentrating on developing a changeup to accompany his fastball and curveball. His pitches were effective all day, as McCarthy struck out big-time prospect, Billy Hamilton along with Joey Votto and Ryan Ludwick in the first inning alone. McCarthy finished the game allowing just one run, a sac fly after a leadoff triple in the second.
Diamondbacks manager, Kirk Gibson, made great strides in creating a clubhouse of players modeled after himself this winter. The Diamondbacks are rumored to have traded Justin Upton, Chris Young and Trevor Bauer this offseason simply for not having the right “demeanor” which is to imply they did not play “tough” enough.
Regardless of whether or not the strategy will prove successful, there’s little doubt Gibson is content with his new fourth starter. McCarthy figures to have tremendous upside if he can stay healthy. The 29 year old posted back to back seasons of an ERA of 3.32 or better the past two years, giving up just more than a hit per inning over a span of over 280 innings. Both seasons included injuries.