Brandon McCarthy throws against hitters for first time since head injury

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Brandon McCarthy took the mound yesterday and faced live hitters for the first time since a line drive to the head on September 5 fractured his skull.

McCarthy threw batting practice to his new Diamondbacks teammates from behind a protective screen, which is standard for all pitchers, and called the experience “completely normal.”

“Anything you would have thought might have been there wasn’t,” McCarthy said, via Steve Gilbert of MLB.com. “I was more nervous about where my command was at, where my stuff was at.”

Good news for a good pitcher and a good person to root for.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.