GLENDALE, Ariz. - Despite feeling ‘out of sync' for his second straight outing, Diamondbacks starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy held the Chicago White Sox to two runs on Wednesday afternoon while allowing 11 batters to reach base in his six innings pitched. The pitcher's damage control proved pivotal in the game, which the Diamondbacks ultimately won 4-2.
McCarthy, a free agent acquisition of the D-backs in the offseason, had his 2012 season with the A's come to a screeching halt when he was hit in the head by an Erick Aybar line drive in early September. The pitcher underwent emergency brain surgery soon thereafter and didn't return to the mound until a few weeks ago, on February 27 in a Cactus League against the Reds.
Wednesday marked the tall right-hander's fifth start of spring training, but the comeback seems to be far from complete, at least according to the pitcher himself who, among other comments, said he felt ‘disjointed' versus the White Sox.
"Directionally, I'm off," McCarthy said disappointedly after his outing. "I'm not good at staying on line. Everything's is just kind of a little bit tilted. My front side and head are just kind of going toward first (base) a little too much."
Manager Kirk Gibson all but dismissed McCarthy's concerns with his mechanics after the game, calling the pitcher ‘very analytical' and that he ‘wants to be perfect.'
Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks hit opposing pitcher Gavin Floyd hard, notching 10 hits, three for extra bases -- including a monster solo home run to left field by A.J. Pollock. Gerardo Parra and Martin Prado, the Diamondbacks' two and three-hole hitters on Wednesday, each reached base twice, with Prado's first hit scoring Willie Bloomquist in the first inning.
Brad Ziegler ended up in line for the win, after pitching a scoreless seventh inning and seeing his team score on a go-ahead two-RBI single by third baseman Ryan Court the next inning.
He said it:
Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson, who entered his office complaining of sinus pain after his team's 4-2 win on Wednesday afternoon, joked about pitcher Brandon McCarthy's nitpicking tendencies while meeting with reporters.
"[McCarthy] is going to say that everyday," Gibson said of McCarthy's post-outing comments. "You ought to know that by now. There's always going to be a little something here or there. I got a little cough today too, so that's the way it is. But we won the [freaking] game."
• Utility infielder Josh Wilson got the nod at second base on Wednesday afternoon after the originally-scheduled starting second baseman, John McDonald, was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Wilson, who signed a minor league contract with the Diamondbacks in December, spent last season with Triple-A Gwinnett, a minor league affiliate of the Braves.
• Gibson made it clear that the fifth starter competition isn't the only roster spot battle in the Diamondbacks camp. Though it's not getting much attention, the contest for the backup catcher role between Wil Nieves and Rod Barajas is in full swing. "Both those guys have been real professional and have worked real hard, so it's a tough evaluation. They're both certainly qualified and they've done a great job in Spring Training, but we've only got room for one."
• Veteran pitcher Nelson Figueroa, who tallied two wins while recording a 1.80 ERA for Team Puerto Rico in the recent World Baseball Classic, has not been ruled out of contention for the Diamondbacks' fifth starter spot. Though admitting that he foresaw difficulty getting the pitcher sufficient innings in the remainder of spring training, Gibson said that he still had a chance of making the roster. Figueroa was named to the All-WBC team early Wednesday morning.
Ian Kennedy (0-1, 6.35 ERA) and the Diamondbacks are set to face Carlos Carrasco and the Cleveland Indians on Thursday at Salt River Fields. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 PM and Brad Ziegler, Joe Paterson, J.J. Putz, and Matt Reynolds are all expected to pitch, although Josh Collmenter, one of Wednesday's scheduled pitchers, never made an appearance. Former Diamondback Bryan Shaw, meanwhile, is expected to come out of the bullpen for the Indians during Thursday's contest.