McCarthy attempted to dodge the ball, but it struck him in the right side of the head and the 6-foot-7 pitcher crumpled to the ground. (See the video here.)
The 29-year-old righty stayed down for two minutes while coaches and the team trainer attended to him. He eventually walked off the field under his own power and received a loud ovation before he was taken to a nearby hospital for tests. McCarthy remained at the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center overnight for observation.
The ball hit McCarthy so hard on the play that it rolled to third baseman Josh Donaldson who threw out Aybar. It was a scary scene for those on hand at the Oakland Coliseum, and catcher Derek Norris was the first to reach his fallen pitcher on the mound.
“Oh, bleep,” Norris told the San Francisco Chronicle when asked for his initial reaction to the play, using “bleep” to edit his own profanity. “I tried to get out there as quickly as I could, make sure he stayed down so he wouldn’t do anything to further injure himself. I told him to stay down and relax.”
McCarthy’s first words to Norris were, “Where did it hit me?”
The A’s said their pitcher did not lose consciousness, but the team did not provide a diagnosis.
McCarthy spent two stints on the disabled list this season, but when healthy, he’s been one of Oakland’s most consistent starters. He is 8-6 with a career-best 3.24 ERA and a 3.04 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 18 starts this season. And with the recent suspension of Bartolo Colon, McCarthy suddenly became the team’s most experienced starter.
With Thursday’s 7-1 loss to the Angels, Oakland has dropped three straight but is tied with Baltimore for the top AL wild-card spot.