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.
Angels’ right-handed reliever Bud Norris made his 23rd appearance of the season on Friday, and after just three pitches, he was done for the night. He worked a 2-1 count to Marlins’ Dee Gordon in the eighth inning, then promptly exited the field after experiencing some tightness in his right knee. Neither Norris nor manager Mike Scioscia believe the injury is cause for major concern, and the 32-year-old right-hander admitted that it may have had something to do with his lack of stretching before he took the mound. For now, he’s day-to-day with right knee soreness, with the hope that the issue doesn’t escalate over the next few days.
While the Angels are lucky to have avoided serious injury, they’ll need Norris to pitch at 100% if they want to stay competitive within the AL West. They currently sit a full nine games behind the league-leading Astros, and haven’t been helping their cause after taking five losses in their last eight games. Friday’s 8-5 finale marked their third consecutive loss of the week.
When healthy, Norris has been one of the better arms in the Angels’ bullpen. Through 23 2/3 innings, he’s pitched to a 2.66 ERA, 3.4 BB/9 and an outstanding 11.8 SO/9 in 23 outings. The righty hasn’t allowed a single run in four straight appearances, recording three saves and helping the club clinch four wins in that span. This is his second setback of the year after sustaining a partial fingernail tear on his pitching hand during spring training.
Max Scherzer is a force to be reckoned with. The Nationals’ right-hander delivered a season-high 13 strikeouts against the Padres on Friday, locking down his fifth win and his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the year.
More remarkably, it was also the 53rd double-digit strikeout performance of Scherzer’s career, tying Clayton Kershaw for the most 10+ strikeout appearances by an active major league pitcher. Chris Sale is a distant third, with 43 to his name, though he’s been making considerable strides to catch up so far this spring.
Scherzer took the Padres to task on Friday night, whiffing 13 of 31 batters during his 108-pitch outing. He started strong, catching Allen Cordoba swinging on a 1-2 count to start the game and keeping the game scoreless until Ryan Schimpf unleashed a home run in the fourth inning. That was the first and final run the Padres managed off of Scherzer, who retired 14 consecutive batters following the blast and came one out shy of a complete game in the ninth inning. (Fittingly, Koda Glover polished off the win with a final strikeout, bringing the total to 14 on the night.)
It’ll take more than one stellar start to advance Scherzer and Kershaw on the all-time list, however. Their 53-game record ranks 13th, about 159 games behind second-place Hall of Fame hurler Randy Johnson and a full 162 games shy of the inimitable Nolan Ryan.