It was only in September 2012 that questions about whether or not Brandon McCarthy still had a future in baseball were being raised after the right-hander suffered a fractured skull as a result of being hit by a line drive.
On a Wednesday afternoon in Arizona nearly six months later the incident, it’s safe to say that McCarthy has put those questions to rest for good.
The Arizona Diamondbacks had known that he was in good shape going into the season, but were still anxious to see how their big free-agent pitching acquisition would fare in a game situation. McCarthy passed that important test with flying colors at the expense of some of the Cincinnati Reds‘ brightest: Billy Hamilton, Joey Votto and Ryan Ludwick, who were all set down on strikes in the first inning.
McCarthy added one more to that tally before the end of his two-inning outing, finishing his day having given up three hits and a run that was scored on a sac fly.
Slated to be the Diamondbacks No. 2 pitcher after signing a two-year, $15.5 million contract in the off-season, McCarthy looked every bit as advertised, showing good control right off the bat.
The four strikeouts may have came as a result of batters like Votto and Ludwick not being quite up to speed yet, but if McCarthy can improve on his 6.15 career K/9 while maintaining his 4.8 fWAR form in 2012, he might just quickly push Ian Kennedy as the current ace of the club before long.
After all, it’s not as though his talents have ever really been in question. Health has been the only major obstacle that McCarthy has faced so far because he’d been bothered by shoulder issues throughout his career in the bigs prior to the freak accident near the end of 2012.
Whether the former is something that will continue to come up has yet to be seen, but the lingering questions about the latter should be totally put to rest by his spring debut with the team.