Brandon McCarthy Believes the D-Backs can be ‘Successful Quickly,’ Isn’t Worried About Pitching at Chase Field

December 13, 2012 – 7:30 am by Steven Cuce

Daniel Hudson. Ian Kennedy. Trevor Cahill. These are some of the names that Brandon McCarthy will be joining on the Arizona Diamondbacks’ starting pitching staff this season. The former Oakland Athletics hurler agreed on a two-year contract with the D-Backs this week.

McCarthy, 29, finished 8-6 last season with a 3.24 ERA in 18 starts with Oakland. He didn’t pitch after being struck in the right side of his head on Sept. 5 against the Angels. McCarthy suffered an epidural hemorrhage, brain contusion and a skull fracture. He was able to recover in time to enjoy the A’s clinching a playoff berth and believes he was fortunate to be on that team. McCarthy feels comfortable in Arizona and believes this team is poised for success.

Brandon McCarthy joined XTRA Sports 910 in Phoenix with Bickley and MJ to discuss his decision to sign with the Arizona Diamondbacks, his excitement for the Diamondbacks’ starting pitching rotation, not believing his baseball career was over after being struck in the head by a line drive, feeling fortunate that he was a part of the Oakland Athletics’ pennant race last season and pitching at Chase Field this season.

Talk about coming from the Oakland Athletics to the Arizona Diamondbacks. What was that transition like?

“It was one that was based on a lot of familiarity, basically for a league that I have never been in, an organization I’ve never played for and there’s people here I actually know well. Trevor Cahill is here. The Penningtons are here. There are a lot of different people that I have familiarity with. My family lived around Arizona. I have friends throughout the valley. I used to actually live in the valley. There were a lot of fits in that regard and a lot of it was the one team that was ready to commit to the longer term than other teams were. And most importantly [it] was the team that would be the most successful quickly. You wouldn’t even say you are removed from being successful with just one off year. With this team, I felt like I could be one of those pieces that would help us get farther and deeper in the playoffs. When you get into the playoffs anything can happen. A lot of success being there made it an easy decision for me.”

Talk about your excitement for the Arizona Diamondbacks pitching rotation?

“It’s not one of those rotations where anyone would feel like there would be an off day. You face a lot of teams with a strong 1-2-3 or you get into 4-5 and the hitters [think], ‘This is the day we capitalize.’ I think — especially with Daniel Hudson coming back halfway through and I think there’s so many guys coming through there — I don’t think there’s any day where hitters will look forward to facing pitchers one through five. It’s a pretty tough thing to get through. If it’s not five-deep it is six-deep, seven-deep. That is probably aggressive and it makes up for injuries. That makes up for anything that happens along the way. When you have guys that are constantly coming in that are just better than the next one, you are in a pretty position.”

Was there ever a moment after you were struck with the line drive where you thought maybe you couldn’t pitch in baseball again?

“No. It’s just because my brain doesn’t work that way. I just don’t think worse-case scenario ever. The only thing I do consider is that I try to plan for everything. If something is going to happen, I try to set a plan in motion and that’s what I am going to stick to and that’s how I am going to go through it. To me, from the second half on, my first thought was, ‘I am going to have to have brain surgery,’ and then it was, ‘OK, how do I wanna deal with this emotionally?’ Once I got out of surgery, it was, ‘OK, what is the process of getting back?’ And that’s what I asked the doctors and that’s what I asked the training staff.”

What was it like to be in the pennant race with the Athletics and make the playoffs?

“It was really something that I would be fortunate to ever have something close to that experience again. It’s not just where we were knocked out in the playoffs, but just the atmosphere we had in the clubhouse with the group of guys — the way we were winning games and how unexpected all of it was. It’s something that’s so rare that I’ll always look back on that season as a special season. Even considering everything that happened, to me it was just so unexpected. Coming back from surgery and being a part of that clubhouse and to be around that was really just kind of one of those special seasons.”

Talk about pitching at Chase Field this season:

“Pitching at Chase Field is something that hasn’t occurred to me much. It’s going to be different than Oakland, but I don’t think we ever focus on what is happening at the ballpark. It really doesn’t change the way I pitch. Everything stays the same, whether or not the results will stay the same. … The changing of parks will be a little different. There’s a lot about National League baseball that I am not familiar with. There’s a lot of National League teams I am not familiar with and the players. It’s just weird. You get a tunnel vision with the respective league you play in. There will be an adjustment period there where I will be learning some hitters and the way lineups look, but that’s something you get over pretty quick. Even American League teams switch over year to year. I don’t think it will be too big of a deal.”

Listen to Brandon McCarthy on XTRA Sports 910 in Phoenix here

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