McCarthy to throw Saturday, expecting normal offseason

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McCarthy to throw Saturday, expecting normal offseason

OAKLAND -- Twenty three days after being struck in the head by a line drive, Brandon McCarthy is back in the Athletics dugout. Twenty four days after, he'll throw a baseball.

McCarthy says he plans to be in uniform alongside his teammates for the final two home series, and he was cleared by doctors Friday to pick up a baseball on Saturday.

"Now I can be in the dugout. I can be around the game atmosphere again," McCarthy said. "I think it's really what I need to get my mind off everything."

McCarthy, who had two hours of surgery to stabilize an epidural hemorrhage, brain contusion and skull fracture, is miraculously planning his normal offseason regimen in Dallas. It is typically four weeks after such an injury before any exertion is recommended. McCarthy expects to push the limits and test himself in the next week.

McCarthy, who was driven to the yard by his wife and still experiences bouts of "mild cloudiness," has stayed remarkably positive throughout the process.

"I try not to get down with anything," McCarthy said. "It's just the way my brain works, it tries to find the humor in anything."

His good humor will go a long way towards enhancing the A's healthy clubhouse atmosphere.

"He's a big boost on a team with so many young guys, especially a young staff," Sean Doolittle said. "He's a very calming presence and he's helped a lot of guys out just by the way he goes about his stuff.

"He keeps the mood relatively light. That's the biggest thing, he's such a good veteran presence for us young guys."

If you ask McCarthy, whose one-year, 4.275 million contract expires at the end of this season, he expects his presence to continue in Oakland.

"It's been that way from Day 1," McCarthy said. "And it certainly hasn't changed now. Going through something like this, where you see the reactions, not only from the fans and teammates, but the way the front office handled it was beyond first class.

"It truly shows you the family system that's in place. I'd like to be back here."

Aside from not being able to help his team, which has left McCarthy frequently yelling at the television, the worst part about the life-threatening affair?

"Really, the one thing I remember from this whole thing is just being unbelievably thirsty for about four days," McCarthy said. "I was on a salt drip for a few days, which is big for swelling on the brain. I couldn't drink water, I couldn't drink anything."

McCarthy is hoping his presence with the team will help the A's quench their thirst with the sweet taste of clubhouse champagne.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's loss despite five home runs

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's loss despite five home runs

BOX SCORE

Hit five home runs, and a team has to like its chances of winning.

The A’s simply couldn’t keep up with the Houston Astros’ bats, however, in an 11-8 loss Wednesday night that snapped Oakland’s four-game winning streak. Khris Davis went deep twice, and Ryon Healy, Jed Lowrie and Matt Olson all went deep as the A’s set their season high for home runs.

But Houston racked up 17 hits against Jesse Hahn (3-6) and four relievers and evened this three-game series at a game apiece. It was the second time Hahn has gotten knocked around by Houston inside of a week.

The A’s took an early lead, 5-4, in the third on the second of Davis’ two homers, part of a four-run rally for Oakland. But the Astros answered right back with five runs in the bottom half, and the A’s never recovered from that momentum swing.

Hahn’s struggles continue: Hahn was trying to rebound after the Astros hung nine earned runs on him last Thursday at the Coliseum. Things didn’t improve Wednesday at Minute Maid Park, as the right-hander lasted just two-plus innings and allowed six runs on nine hits. Is this a case of one team simply having Hahn’s number or do the A’s make a move and try someone else in the rotation? It bears watching.

Krush Davis x 2: It was apparent early this would be a slugfest, with Khris Davis homering twice within the first three innings as the A’s tried to keep pace. He led off the second with a shot to left field, then came back with a three-run blast to left in the third that put Oakland up 5-4. The homers were his team-leading 20th and 21st.

Reddick-ulous night: Josh Reddick filled up the stat sheet against his old team in every way imaginable. He went 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs, and twice caught the A’s by surprise by stealing third base. For good measure, he turned in an excellent running catch in right field to rob Yonder Alonso.

Strange offensive night: What to make of this night offensively for the A’s? They hit a season-high five homers but also struck out a whopping 17 times. No matter … you can’t hang this one on the offense, because …

The pitching staff just couldn’t hold things down: Josh Smith was called upon to hold down the fort after Hahn departed in the third, but Smith was tagged for three runs on four hits. Daniel Coulombe and John Axford also got touched for runs. Rookie Michael Brady did turn in 1 1/3 scoreless innings.

A's lineup: In rare move, Melvin makes no changes vs Astros

A's lineup: In rare move, Melvin makes no changes vs Astros

PROGRAMMING NOTE: A's-Astros coverage begins at 4pm with Pregame Live on NBC Sports California and streaming right here.

After winning their fourth straight game on Tuesday, the A's are trotting out the same lineup Wednesday against the Astros.

Oakland A's:
1. Matt Joyce (L) LF
2. Matt Olson (L) RF
3. Jed Lowrie (S) 2B
4. Khris Davis (R) DH
5. Yonder Alonso (L) 1B
6. Ryon Healy (R) 3B
7. Bruce Maxwell (L) C
8. Franklin Barreto (R) SS
9. Jaycob Brugman (L) CF
Jesse Hahn -- RHP

Houston Astros:
1. George Springer (R) CF
2. Josh Reddick (L) RF
3. Jose Altuve (R) 2B
4. Carlos Correa (R) SS
5. Brian McCann (L) C
6. Carlos Beltran (S) DH
7. Marwin Gonzalez (S) 3B
8. Yuli Gurriel (R) 1B
9. Norichika Aoki (L) LF
David Paulino -- RHP