MLB Notes: McCarthy comes back from head injury

MLB Notes: McCarthy comes back from head injury
February 28, 2013, 9:00 am
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Brandon McCarthy on Wednesday struck out four in two innings in his first game since a horrific head injury. (AP)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Amanda McCarthy was a nervous wreck in the stands. Her husband was as calm as could be on the mound.

Brandon McCarthy methodically struck out four in two innings in his first game since a horrific head injury, an impressive return that overshadowed all else in the Diamondbacks' 14-6 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday.

McCarthy, signed to a two-year deal by the Diamondbacks as a free agent, gave up one run on three hits. He had not taken the mound in a game since Sept. 5 when he was struck in the head by a line drive off the bat of the Angels' Erick Aybar while pitching for Oakland. McCarthy sustained an epidural hemorrhage, brain contusion and skull fracture.

Reds ace Johnny Cueto, in his first start since he was injured early in last year's playoffs, went two innings, allowing four runs, two earned, on five hits with a strikeout and a walk.

Amanda McCarthy, something of a celebrity in her own right with more than 26,000 Twitter followers, had been unusually quiet on her Twitter account as game time approached.

"I was pretty nervous. I was kind of getting shaky," she said. "My girlfriends were trying to distract me and talk to me. I'm not a very nervous person in general when he pitches, but obviously this is a unique situation."

Then she watched her husband strike out Billy Hamilton, Joey Votto and Ryan Ludwick in the first inning (see full story).

Marlins spoil Haren's debut
VIERA, Fla. -- Dan Haren knows no one is going to confuse his fastball with the overpowering pitch thrown by Stephen Strasburg.

That's why Haren's control and ability to set up hitters are so important.

He struggled with his command in the first inning of his Nationals spring debut Wednesday, but was much better in the second of what turned out to be a 5-1 loss to the Miami Marlins.

"My fastball usually hovers around where Strasburg's changeup is," Haren joked Wednesday.

Miami starter Nathan Eovaldi, meanwhile, couldn't have been happier with his performance. The Marlins right-hander faced the minimum six hitters in his first start, walking one and striking out three.

While he didn't throw any curveballs in his 26 pitches, Eovaldi did work in a few changeup which is something he has been working on this spring to help compliment his two best pitches - the fastball and slider (see full story).

Ortiz leaves Red Sox for few days
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz has left the team for a few days to return to the Dominican Republic for a personal matter.

Before Wednesday night's game against the Baltimore Orioles, Boston manager John Farrell said that Ortiz, who has yet to play this spring training, should be back by Friday.

Farrell declined to say what Ortiz's personal matter was (see full story).

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