Day by day, Brandon McCarthy keeps moving forward
By Jon Weisman
It might have been just another day in the post-Tommy John surgery life of Brandon McCarthy, but every day forward is a good one.
Under the gaze of a group including Andrew Friedman, Rick Honeycutt and Dave Roberts — not to mention his wife Amanda and baby daughter Cassidy — the 32-year-old right-hander threw approximately 40 competitive pitches in a two-inning bullpen session this afternoon on the Dodger Stadium mound.
And there were nothing but smiles around afterward, including Roberts, who stood in the batter’s box from both the right and left sides as McCarthy threw.
“We’ve been doing this for a couple of months now, this progression through bullpens,” McCarthy said. “It’s a little less learning at this point, and a little more just trying to (approximate) Spring Training as we’re trying to get going.
“It’s the equivalent to the first or second week of spring, somewhere in there, where you’re ready to move into live BPs. … After that point, if everything’s good, then you go into games.”
McCarthy said that his command feels good overall, though a couple of pitches need more reps. If there are no setbacks, McCarthy would have another bullpen session this weekend, and then move to live batting practice next week.
“You still kind of play everything day by day,” he said. “If everything goes well one day, you move to the next day.”
It has now been more than a year since his surgery, and McCarthy said the recovery and rehab process hasn’t deviated significantly from what he had been led to expect — including the stir-craziness from being sidelined so long.
“I mean, it’s a little boring at the end,” he said. “You start to feel closer and closer, and there’s still steps to it, but most of the process I’ve tried to handle the same way — it’s just whatever I have to do that day, then move to the next day. So there haven’t been too many peaks and valleys. … Overall, it hasn’t been this horrific process. It’s just something you have to focus on every day.”
The birth of his first child in March certainly helped liven things up.
“That takes your attention off everything else — something to look forward to when you go home,” McCarthy said. “That’s been a good game-changer.”
Update: Roberts offered his comments later in the afternoon.
“Brandon looked really, really good,” Roberts said. “Velocity was good. I think he got up to 89 with his fastball, and he was throwing fastball, change, breaking ball, cutter.
“The reason I like to stand in, I want to see it as a hitter and see the late life in the hitting zone. The sinker was really good.”