Sunday, February 25, 2018
Sports

McCarthy aces first test since beaning

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Amanda McCarthy was a nervous wreck in the stands. Her husband was as calm as could be on the mound.

Brandon McCarthy struck out four in two innings in his first game since a horrific head injury, an impressive return in the Diamondbacks' 14-6 loss to the Reds on Wednesday.

McCarthy, who signed a two-year deal with Arizona as a free agent, gave up one run on three hits. He had not taken the mound in a game since Sept. 5 when he was struck in the head by a line drive off the bat of the Angels' Erick Aybar while pitching for Oakland. McCarthy sustained an epidural hemorrhage, brain contusion and skull fracture.

Amanda McCarthy, who has more than 26,000 Twitter followers, had been unusually quiet on her Twitter account as game time approached.

"I was pretty nervous. I was kind of getting shaky," she said. "My girlfriends were trying to distract me and talk to me. I'm not a very nervous person in general when he pitches, but obviously this is a unique situation."

Then she watched her husband strike out the side in the first inning. He gave up a triple and a sacrifice fly in the second before picking up his fourth strikeout.

"I felt my rhythm was good, my game pace was good," McCarthy, 29, said, "all the things I'd like to have even later in spring I felt were good."

The right-hander, who is working on a changeup, threw 31 pitches, 22 strikes.

"He was awesome," his wife said. "Did he strike out like a million?"

In other Diamondbacks news, catcher Miguel Montero returned to the lineup after missing two days with a right thumb infection.

CELEBS NIXED: After several notably poor performances, the Cubs have decided to stop having celebrities sing Take Me Out to the Ball Game during the seventh-inning stretch. "I think the last couple of years we had gotten away to a couple of people who weren't tied to Chicago," Cubs in-game programming director Jim Oboikowitch said. In other Cubs news, shortstop Starlin Castro came out of Wednesday's game with left hamstring tightness and is day to day.

JURISPRUDENCE: A grand jury in Dallas declined to indict the teenage son of Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter in a sexual assault case. Darius McClinton-Hunter was arrested in May with four others in Prosper, Texas.

COMEBACK CURTAILED: Right-hander Javier Vazquez, 36, who was out of baseball last season, won't pitch for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic because he hasn't recovered from surgery last month to repair meniscus damage in his right knee.

METS: Right-hander Zack Wheeler, the team's top pitching prospect, was scratched with a mild oblique strain.

RANGERS: First baseman/DH Lance Berkman, who has been bothered by a mild right calf strain, is set to make his spring training debut today.

RED SOX: DH David Ortiz returned to the Dominican Republic for a personal matter. … Third baseman Will Middlebrooks was pulled in the first inning with soreness in the right wrist that he fractured last season, costing him the final two months.

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