Brandon McCarthy is still in a “life-threatening” situation

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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.

Martin Maldonado and Willson Contreras say they’re willing to pay fines rather than follow new mound visit rule

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On Monday, Major League Baseball announced some changes aimed at improving the game’s pace of play, something that has been a pet cause for commissioner Rob Manfred. Among the changes was a limit on mound visits whether from managers and coaches, the catcher, or other defenders. Each team will have six non-pitching change mound visits per game and one additional visit each inning in extra innings. Craig wrote more in depth on the changes here if you happened to miss it.

Angels catcher Martin Maldonado says he is going to do what’s necessary to stay on the same page with his pitchers. Via Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, Maldonado said, “If the game is on the line, I’m going to go out there. If we’re at six [visits], and it’s going to be the seventh, I’m going to go out there, even if I have to pay a fine. I’m there for the pitchers.”

Cubs catcher Willson Contreras said as much on Tuesday. Per Josh Frydman of WGN News, Contreras said, “What about if you have a tight game and you have to go out there? They can’t say anything about that, that’s my team and we just care about wins. If they’re going to fine me about number seven mound visit, I’ll pay the price.”

Exhibition games haven’t even started yet, but two notable backstops — the lesser-known Maldonado won a Gold Glove last year — are clearly not happy with the rule change. As Craig alluded to in his article yesterday, arguments between catchers and umpires (and, subsequently, managers and umpires) are probably going to become more frequent, which would likely end up nullifying any pace of play improvements.