The 29-year-old was struck on the side of the head after the Los Angeles Angels Erick Aybar hit a line drive directly at him in a game on Sept. 5. The injury was described as a brain contusion and required surgery.
While the days following the incident brought significantly more concern over McCarthy’s life than his prospects of playing again this season, the pitcher may be able to aid the A’s in the playoffs, as reported via Twitter by The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser.
Melvin confirms what Brandon McCarthy told me yesterday: McCarthy might be able to pitch in the postseason at some point. #Athletics— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) October 3, 2012
The 6’7”, 200-pound righty was 8-6 in 18 starts with a 3.24 ERA before his injury. This is his ninth season in the majors and his second in Oakland. The most productive years of his career have come with the A’s.
The Athletics just finished a three-game sweep of their division rival, the Texas Rangers, to win the AL West. The team ended its 2012 regular season campaign with a 94-68 record, its best mark since 2003.
This is Oakland’s first division title since 2006, which was also the last time that the team made the postseason.
In MLB’s new playoff format, teams that win the division earn a spot in the Division Series, while two wild cards face a one-game playoff to try and make it to what was previously the first round.
This gives division winners a significant advantage and makes the A’s late-season surge incredibly important. If the winning streak can give the team enough momentum to make it far enough in the postseason for McCarthy to come back, it would be a fitting end to an inspiring recovery.
Check back here for updates of McCarthy’s progress going forward.