February 27, 2013
MLB notes: Brandon McCarthy returns to D-Backs
By QMI Agency

Oakland Athletics pitcher Brandon McCarthy returns to the dugout during the middle of the first inning of his MLB American League baseball game against the Texas Rangers in Oakland, California June 7, 2012. (REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach)

Arizona Diamondbacks righthander Brandon McCarthy returned to the mound Wednesday, six months after taking a line drive off the side of his head while pitching with the Oakland Athletics.

Following the scary scene in Oakland last September, McCarthy was discharged from hospital six days after undergoing surgery to repair a skull fracture.

On Wednesday, McCarthy looked fully recovered, striking out four Cincinnati Reds through two innings after a frozen rope from the Angels’ Erick Aybar almost ended his career.

"I assume it will become less of a hot issue," McCarthy told reporters in Arizona. "For me, it can't really get more behind me than it is. But I think I'll always be that guy, where it's one of the defining markers for me. I just have to try to pitch well enough to get out of that."

McCarthy inked a two-year deal worth $15.5 million with the Diamondbacks last December.

HUNTER’S SON OFF THE HOOK


The son of Detroit Tigers rightfielder Torii Hunter will not stand trial after being charged with the sexual assault of a child.

Darius McClinton-Hunter, 17 at the time, and four others were taken into custody last May for allegedly drugging an unspecified number of girls and forcing them into sex.

After a Texas grand jury declined to indict three of the accused earlier this month, the charges were finally dropped against McClinton-Hunter on Wednesday.

"He finally feels vindicated," Todd Shapiro, McClinton-Hunter’s lawyer, told the Associated Press. "He knew from the very day he was arrested that he didn't commit any crime."

INJURY FORCES VAZQUEZ OUT OF WBC, MLB

It appears a return to the majors isn’t in the cards for veteran pitcher Javier Vazquez.

The 36-year-old Puerto Rican told El Nuevo Dia, a newspaper on the island, a knee injury will keep him out of next month’s World Baseball Classic.

According to MLB.com, although the former all-star garnered interest from a handful of teams ahead of the 2013 season, discomfort in his surgically repaired knee will prevent his return.

Vazquez, who last pitched in the major leagues in 2011, had surgery to repair an injured meniscus during the off-season.

Starting his career in 2000 with the Montreal Expos, Vazquez had 10 or more wins in each of his big league seasons before last pitching with the Florida Marlins.

GARCIA PASSES ‘TEST’

St. Louis Cardinals lefty Jaime Garcia passed the test in his first return to the mound since a shoulder injury saw him yanked during Game 2 of the NLDS last October.

The 26-year-old Mexican threw 43 pitches in two scoreless innings in his return on Tuesday.

“That real game, the excitement, the adrenaline of the game – it’s kind of like when you really test it,” Garcia told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “It went real well.”

Garcia, who finished third in NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2010, underwent reconstructive elbow surgery in 2008.

Controversially, Garcia decided to rehab rather than go the surgical route for his shoulder.

“I did a real good job of … being able to stay locked-in and make pitches after that,” Garcia said of his first outing. “I’ll take that.”

BRIEFLY

New York Yankees righthander Phil Hughes could miss a portion of the regular season due to a bulging disk in his upper back. Yankees manager Joe Girardi told ESPN Wednesday his No. 4 starter could still return in time for April, but will need to get at least four starts under his belt before the season … New York Mets infielder Daniel Murphy is at least a week away from returning due to a strained rib muscle on his right side. Murphy is projected as the Mets’ everyday second basemen after the 27-year-old hit .291 last season in 156 games … Staying with the Mets, right-handed prospect Zack Wheeler was scratched from a scheduled start Wednesday. A one-time top prospect, the 22-year-old strained an oblique muscle in the hitting cage.

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