For images from Sunday, visit LA Photog Blog.
By Jon Weisman
A thousand sighs for this piece of news.
Brandon McCarthy and the Dodgers received the worst possible report today about his injured right elbow, learning that the 31-year-old righthander has a torn ulnar collateral ligament that will almost certainly require Tommy John surgery.
With the operation, McCarthy figures to be sidelined until approximately July 2016.
“For the next couple of hours, I’ll keep talking it through and I’ll talk to the doc when he gets here,” McCarthy said this afternoon, “but it certainly (points) in one direction, and I don’t want to be one of those guys who plays out the string for a few months, only to waste everybody’s time.”
McCarthy said that initial testing on Saturday had given him hope that the injury wasn’t this serious. Though the 31-year-old has been beset by injuries throughout his career, this is the first time his pitching elbow has been affected.
to be fair, 31 years of use is a lot to ask for from a ligament
— Brandon McCarthy (@BMcCarthy32) April 27, 2015
He’s not able to pinpoint exactly when the injury occurred, and he considered himself in great shape before it materialized.
“Maybe it was a slow build to it, maybe it was just a freak thing that happened on a pitch, but I loved where I was at workout-wise,” McCarthy said. “It got me to a place where I was more prepared to pitch every five days than I ever have been.”
McCarthy first began to question his condition during his April 19 outing against Colorado, in which he pitched six shutout innings, though he wasn’t alarmed.
“I noticed that it was hurting a decent amount, and I just kind of was equating it to last year dealing with tendonitis and left the game,” he said. “I had a normal week in between where I wasn’t really limited. I was kind of encouraged by that, that it didn’t feel terrible. And then, even warming up for the game (Saturday), it felt OK — I didn’t feel as bad as I thought it might. … And then once I really got into the game, it was hurting.”
McCarthy said he has wondered whether he made things worse by staying in the game until the fifth inning, but he didn’t seem convinced one way or another and said he didn’t plan to dwell on that mystery. He did acknowledge that he continued to pitch hurt against San Diego because after allowing a first-inning home run to Justin Upton, he was getting outs, retiring 12 in a row at one point.
“Hucking stuff toward home plate and hoping to God they hit it at someone, which they had done for about four innings,” McCarthy said. “And in (the fifth) inning, they stopped hitting them to people. I knew if I was going to get outs, then I could at least keep getting through this. If there going to hit the ball over the fence, then I have no business being here.
“That’ll be the only question I have. I don’t know if I just kept going at it and maybe made it worse. … I wish I could say.”
Friedman said early season trades are very uncommon and they'll look internally for now & perhaps outside later in the season. #Dodgers
— Alanna Rizzo (@alannarizzo) April 28, 2015
For the time being, Scott Baker will remain in the Dodger starting rotation, with Mike Bolsinger, Joe Wieland, Carlos Frias and Zach Lee among the candidates to help fill in. (The Dodgers consider it premature to call up 18-year-old Julio Urias.) In the short term, lefty reliever Adam Liberatore has come up from Triple-A Oklahoma City to take McCarthy’s roster spot.
If McCarthy’s season is over, he finishes with 29 strikeouts but a 5.87 ERA and nine home runs allowed in 23 innings.