SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Brandon McCarthy is back to his Twitter-happy self, a positive sign for the Oakland Athletics after the pitcher was struck in the head by a line drive this week.
The 29-year-old McCarthy underwent two hours of surgery late Wednesday to relieve pressure on the brain after the ball hit the right side of his head. He experienced an epidural hemorrhage, brain contusion and skull fracture on the play off the bat of the Angels' Erick Aybar.
McCarthy, Oakland's opening day starter, is 8-6 with a 3.24 ERA this year in his sixth big league season and second with the A's. He went 9-9 with a 3.32 ERA last season.
McCarthy joked Saturday: "The good news in all of this, is that I set up my fantasy lineups beforehand. So there shall be no excuses at this point."
Earlier, he made a funny reference to how "crazy" he is for the children's pain medication he gets — and "can't believe they give it to kids." In response to a get-well greeting from 49ers All-Pro linebacker Patrick Willis, McCarthy quipped, "Thanks, buddy, I feel like I just got hit by you."
His lighthearted posts came a day after trainer Nick Paparesta said in Seattle that McCarthy was still in a "life-threatening" situation. Paparesta said Saturday at Safeco Field that the pitcher had been examined by a neurosurgeon earlier in the day and is progressing nicely. McCarthy was able to ask his own questions to doctors about his condition, too.
McCarthy is recovering in a Bay Area hospital, and might soon be moved to a transitional care unit in the building that is one step closer to a regular hospital room.
Paparesta said the first few days after a traumatic head injury are crucial.
"I'd give him one more day. I think with any head injury, you need to be cautious, and that's where we are," he said. "There is caution there. But the progress has been great and we're all very excited about it."