Brandon McCarthy is showing signs of improvement two days after undergoing surgery to relieve pressure on his brain from being struck by a line drive during a start against the Angels on Wednesday, but Athletics trainer Nick Paparesta said tonight that he’s still in a “life-threatening” situation.
“Absolutely he is. It’s brain surgery,” Paparesta said. “It’s life-threatening. At any possible moment something could go wrong, he could have a complication. Absolutely.”
McCarthy got out of bed three times today, sat up in his bed and in a chair, ate solid foods and recognized visitors. While he is able to talk, he is in too much pain to do so. Things are looking up, but Paparesta was told by doctors and the medical team that the second and third days after surgery are the most critical.
“We’re coming up on day three (Saturday), so by the evening time there’s still the possibility of reoccurring or increase of swelling back again,” Paparesta said. “If that happens, they can do different measures or techniques to keep that down. He’s not out of the woods but he showing great progress.”
Erick Aybar hit the ball which struck McCarthy on Wednesday afternoon. He was naturally quite shaken by his involvement in the unfortunate incident and issued a statement before tonight’s game.
“It has been a tough last two days for me as I keep replaying in my head when the ball struck Brandon. I am encouraged and thankful to know he has made significant progress, and I keep praying to God to help him recover quickly and fully. I also pray for him and his wife. Our game is a tight brotherhood, and right now we all wear the same uniform colors.”
Angels broadcaster Jose Mota reports that Aybar left a voicemail for McCarthy after Wednesday’s game and hopes to talk to him soon.
For all of their success in the first half, the Pirates may yet turn in a 20th consecutive sub-500 season this year.
The Pirates became the first team since 2004 to commit seven errors in a game and lost 12-2 to the Cubs on Friday night.
Second baseman Brock Holt and left fielder Starling Marte both made two errors in the game. First baseman Gaby Sanchez, catcher Rod Bahajas and shortstop Josh Harrison made one each.
The Braves were the last team to have seven errors in a game, doing so in a loss to the Rockies eight years ago. It was the first time since 1985 that the Pirates had committed seven errors.
In so doing, they made a winner out of Cubs lefty Travis Wood for the first time in over two months. Wood allowed just one hit in six scoreless innings to snap his eight-game losing streak. The Cubs had lost each of his 10 starts since the All-Star break.
The Pirates are now 72-65 for the season. They’ll have to win nine of their remaining 25 games to finish at .500. The odds favor them getting there, but seeing as though they’re 13-21 since the beginning of August, it’s far from a lock.
UPDATE: Per Brian McTaggart of MLB.com, Clemens told ESPN after his outing that he “would listen” if Astros owner Jim Crane calls, but doesn’t think he’s close to pitching in an MLB game.
10:01 PM: With his son Koby behind the plate, Roger Clemens tossed 4 2/3 scoreless innings tonight against the Long Island Ducks in his second start with the independent Sugar Land Skeeters.
Clemens gave up just two hits — both singles — while striking out one and walking none. The 50-year-old right-hander retired the first two hitters he faced in the fifth before hugging his son and leaving to a standing ovation at Constellation Field. Jim Bowden of ESPN.com notes that he sat mostly in the 86-88 mph range with his fastball while Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle reports that he threw 33 out of 54 pitches for strikes.
Clemens tossed 3 1/3 scoreless innings in his first start with the Skeeters on August 25 and topped out at 88 mph. While the Astros were expected to have a scout in attendance for tonight’s outing, the seven-time Cy Young Award winner said earlier this week that he’s “just having fun” and doesn’t expect to pitch in the big leagues this year.
We haven’t heard much about David Ortiz lately and there’s a pretty good reason for that, as there just isn’t much to report.
According to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said this afternoon that Ortiz has made progress since receiving a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection for his strained right Achilles tendon on August 27, but that he isn’t ready to resume running. With the Red Sox out of contention and only a few weeks left in the season, Valentine said he is prepared to play without him for the rest of the year.
“I’m not sure that that’s the official word yet,” Valentine said. “Just prepare just in case he’s not going to come back. It’s not really my call. I mean, if he’s healthy and he loves to play the game of baseball, he could always go out there and bat it around a little. I’d hate to jeopardize his career, that’s for sure.”
Ortiz has put together one of the most productive seasons of his career at the age of 36, batting .318/.415/.611 with 23 home runs, 60 RBI and a 1.026 OPS in 90 games played. It just doesn’t make much sense to rush back, especially since a major setback could cost him big-time in free agency this winter.
Stephen Strasburg’s final start at Nationals Park this season ended up being a brief one, as he was chased after giving up five runs over just three innings tonight against the Marlins.
Strasburg wasn’t fooling anyone, giving up six hits and three walks while striking out two. He threw just 37 out of 67 pitches for strikes. Rob Brantly and Giancarlo Stanton both connected for solo homers. Stanton also touched him up for an RBI double.
Strasburg tied the shortest outing of his major league career tonight, as he previously pitched three innings on June 30 against the Braves and last September 11 against the Astros in his second start back from Tommy John surgery. His ERA is now at a season-high 3.16 while he’s up to 159 1/3 innings on the year. The Nationals intend to shut him down for the season after his start next Wednesday against the Mets at Citi Field.