McCarthy shows 'great progress' after brain trauma

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McCarthy shows 'great progress' after brain trauma

SEATTLE -- The gravity of Brandon McCarthy's situation sunk in amongst the A's players and coaches. While the team has to suit up and play a game, the battle for McCarthy and his family is far more serious. McCarthy, 29, is still in stable condition, and he is progressing. A's head athletic trainer Nick Paparesta said that McCarthy has been able to communicate, get out of bed, eat solid food, and drink fluids without issue. Paparesta continued, saying the signs are very encouraging just three days after undergoing a two hour surgery on his brain to ease the pressure from a epidural hemorrhage and to stabilize a skull fracture incurred after getting hit in the head by a line drive on Wednesday. "By no stretch of the imagination are we out of the woods, but everything is going great and he's showing great progress at this time," Paparesta said. "Brandon is progressing well, he actually got out of his bed three times today. He's sat in a chair. He's had a very good, progressive day."Paparesta didn't sugarcoat matters at all. He maintained that the situation is still life-threatening. "First and foremost, we need to look at his life and making sure he stays alive. This is serious stuff and we want him to live." Paparesta said. "The next phase that we'd look at is him being able to go through and have normal gross motor mechanics and a skill set where he can go through his normal life.""You are going to stay cautiously optimistic at this stage," Paparesta added. "The fact that he is able to get up and sit in his bed, he got out of his bed today and sat in a chair and ate food today, he fed himself. Those are obviously great signs that he can have full function again."While the team is in Seattle taking on the Mariners, McCarthy is on everyone's mind. McCarthy isn't just the ace of the starting rotation, he is a friend and a teammate. "It's hard to kind of take in," Tommy Milone said. "A guy like that who has been a real asset to the team and a friend to all of us. It's hard to imagine what he is going through and what his family is going through."Milone says he sent texts to McCarthy's phone that were returned by his wife Amanda. She has been updating fans on Twitter as well. The A's are getting medical updates and keeping the team informed of McCarthy's progress. They held a meeting on the team plane prior to flying to Seattle to let everyone know what was going on. "We definitely have some heavy hearts here," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "The good news is it seems like each and every day he is getting better."According to Paparesta, McCarthy will remain in the hospital indefinitely. He says days two and three are the most important, and McCarthy is on his third day. At this time the biggest concern is making sure the swelling in his brain doesn't come back. The A's have overcome some tough obstacles this season. Veteran starting pitcher Bartolo Colon was suspended 50 games for violating MLB's drug policy, veteran leader Brandon Inge had season-ending shoulder surgery on Wednesday, but those events pale in comparison to what McCarthy's is dealing with. Losing McCarthy is a big blow to the A's young roster for a myriad of reasons. "Me and Mac have kind of been road dogs," rookie starting pitcher Jarrod Parker said. "We've done a lot together on the road. He's kind of a guy that took me under his wing and he's taught me a lot in this game.""He's awesome," Milone said. "He's one of those guys that has everything to give. He wants to give knowledge and information and when you have a bad start or good start he wants to talk to you about what happened." While Colon led by example in his time with the A's, McCarthy was the unquestioned leader of the staff because he provided key insight in addition to his skills on the mound."The way he carries himself and the stuff he does off the field and in the weight room and training room," Parker said. "He's been huge for us to teach us how to prepare as starting pitchers."In McCarthy's absence the A's have recalled rookie pitcher Dan Straily. He will be starting on Tuesday against the Angels in Anaheim. Straily described his return to the big leagues as bittersweet based on the circumstances."If I could have stayed down there all the way through the playoffs with Sacramento and have McCarthy still be here, that's the way I would have rather had it," Straily said. Straily has made three starts for the A's this season and the team has won all three of them. In his short time with the team he said McCarthy made an immediate impact on him."My locker was next to his and everyday if I had a question no matter how stupid it might have seemed he answered it with respect," Straily said. "I just hope for the best for him." The A's will move forward with a starting rotation that has four rookie pitchers, the oldest of which is Milone, who is 25. Brett Anderson, the most experienced pitcher in the rotation is 24-years-old. In the thick of a pennant race and without McCarthy, the youth knows they have to mature quickly. "It's something we are going to handle as a team," Parker said. "We've faced a lot of stuff this year and this is another chapter in the great story we've got going."

A's lineup: Melvin flip flops Healy, Lowrie against Angels

A's lineup: Melvin flip flops Healy, Lowrie against Angels

Manager Bob Melvin is going with same nine in his lineup Wednesday against the Angels, but there is one change to the order.

Oakland A's (10-10)

1. Jaff Decker (L) CF
2. Jed Lowrie (S) 2B
3. Ryon Healy (R) DH
4. Khris Davis (R) LF
5. Stephen Vogt (L) C
6. Yonder Alonso (L) 1B
7. Trevor Plouffe (R) 3B
8. Matt Joyce (L) RF
9. Adam Rosales (R) SS
Sean Manaea -- LHP

Los Angeles Angels (10-12)

1. Yunel Escobar (R) 3B
2. Kole Calhoun (L) RF
3. Mike Trout (R) CF
4. Albert Pujols (R) DH
5. Jefry Marte (R) 1B
6. Andrelton Simmons (R) SS
7. Danny Espinosa (S) 2B
8. Cameron Maybin (R) LF
9. Martin Maldonado (R) C
Matt Shoemaker -- RHP

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Hahn's excellence goes for naught as Angels walk off on A's

Hahn's excellence goes for naught as Angels walk off on A's

ANAHEIM — The night should have been about Jesse Hahn, who had every pitch working and rendered Angels hitters helpless over eight innings.

Instead, the A’s postgame comments Tuesday were filled with second-guessing and do-overs that they wish came their way in a 2-1, 11-inning defeat to the Los Angeles Angels.

The game-winner came off the bat of Kole Calhoun, who singled in Danny Espinosa from second to sink the A’s in their first extra-inning contest of the season. Ryan Madson went outside with an 0-1 fastball and Calhoun spanked it into left-center, a pitch that Madson said he never should have thrown.

“I wasn’t comfortable with that pitch,” Madson said afterward. “I should have definitely stepped off and re-thought it, so I didn’t throw it with conviction. It looked like it was off the plate but something he could handle. I learned my lesson to throw a pitch I’m convicted in.”

Calhoun swung through a changeup on Madson’s first pitch. Josh Phegley, who was behind the plate calling pitches, said he didn’t want to go right back to that pitch.

“(You) kind of obviously second-guess yourself after the game-winning hit is hit off a pitch you just called,” Phegley said. “I thought about going back to (the changeup). I saw in my head him kind of making adjustments and just looping one over the infield, getting the same result. … I thought it was a good pitch and I’ll trust that guy’s fastball any day of the year. It just was not the result we were looking for.”

Phegley was set up to be a hero himself, after he came off the bench to pinch-hit for Vogt and smacked the first pitch from Jose Alvarez in the 10th for a homer to right-center that snapped a scoreless tie. But Mike Trout — who else? — answered with a home run to lead off the bottom of the 10th off Santiago Casilla. He sliced a 2-0 pitch off the plate for a drive that cleared the short right field wall just inside the foul pole.

It was Trout’s 23rd career homer against the A’s, his most off any team.

“I don’t know anybody that hits a home run right down the right field line on a ball that looks like it’s by him,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “There aren’t too many guys that are gonna do that. Maybe he and Khris Davis. It’s not like it’s a bad pitch.”

Hahn wound up with a no-decision from an outing that might have been his sharpest as an Athletic, perhaps even more so than his shutout of Detroit on Memorial Day, 2015. He allowed just one hit over eight innings, facing two batters over the minimum in that time, striking out six and walking two.

“I feel like I literally had everything working for me today,” Hahn said. “I think it might have been my best command I’ve had of all pitches.”

Hahn, who didn’t make the 25-man roster coming out of spring, is finding his groove since replacing Raul Alcantara in the rotation. In three starts he’s allowed just nine hits and four earned runs over 20 innings, for a 1.80 ERA.

“He pitched as well as we’ve seen him,” Melvin said. “He had his best sink of the year by far. His best sink in a while, and a good curve ball. He really had it working tonight.”

Unfortunately for Hahn and the A’s, his excellent start didn’t come with a ‘W’ attached.

**

Melvin said center fielder Jaff Decker felt something in his foot on a steal attempt of second in which he was thrown out easily without a slide attempt.

“He got taped up and he was OK,” Melvin said.