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Cincinnati at Arizona

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Cincinnati (2-4) «01000611514162
Arizona (2-3)310002000680

McCarthy sharp in first game since horrific head injury

CBSSports.com wire reports
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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Amanda McCarthy was a nervous wreck in the stands. Her husband was as calm as could be on the mound.

Brandon McCarthy methodically struck out four in two innings in his first game since a horrific head injury, an impressive return that overshadowed all else in the Diamondbacks' 14-6 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday.

McCarthy, signed to a two-year deal by the Diamondbacks as a free agent, gave up one run on three hits. He had not taken the mound in a game since Sept. 5 when he was struck in the head by a line drive off the bat of the Angels' Erick Aybar while pitching for Oakland. McCarthy sustained an epidural hemorrhage, brain contusion and skull fracture.

Reds ace Johnny Cueto, in his first start since he was injured early in last year's playoffs, went two innings, allowing four runs, two earned, on five hits with a strikeout and a walk.

Amanda McCarthy, something of a celebrity in her own right with more than 26,000 Twitter followers, had been unusually quiet on her Twitter account as game time approached.

"I was pretty nervous. I was kind of getting shaky," she said. "My girlfriends were trying to distract me and talk to me. I'm not a very nervous person in general when he pitches, but obviously this is a unique situation."

Then she watched her husband strike out Billy Hamilton, Joey Votto and Ryan Ludwick in the first inning.

The only blemish came when rookie center fielder Adam Eaton got a late break on Denis Phipps deep fly ball off McCarthy leading off the second and it went over his head for a triple. Neftali Soto brought Phipps home with a sacrifice fly, then Jack Hannahan was caught looking for McCarthy's fourth strikeout.

"I felt my rhythm was good, my game pace was good," McCarthy said, "all the things I'd like to have even later in spring I felt were good."

The tall right-hander, working to add a changeup to his repertoire, threw 31 pitches, 22 strikes.

"He was awesome," his wife said. "Did he strike out like a million?"

McCarthy said he had no mental hurdle to clear and felt no more nervous than he did approaching any other spring training opener. He said he refuses to dwell on what was a life-threatening injury or even reflect on it, except when he is asked about it.

"I would assume it becomes less of a hot issue, less questions about it, or at least they'll kind of thin out, which is a good thing," he said. "For me it really can't get more behind me than it is, but just in terms of answering questions about it, it will probably go away. But I think I'll always kind of be 'that' guy, to a point where that's just one of the defining markers. I have to try and pitch well enough to get out of that but it will always kind of be there."

McCarthy joked that he might reflect a bit more if he goes on to have an outstanding career.

"That's when you make a ton of money on the motivational speaker's tour. I'll cash in then," he said. "But otherwise I want it to be a footnote at best. It's just something that happened, something that was scarier for the fans or my family than anybody else. That's it for me. It was just a bad day and not a great pitch."

There were no sharp comebacks to the mound for McCarthy to deal with, but he must know that will come.

"When that one came back straight that went way into center I thought he was going to hit the deck, because I did," his wife said. "But he looks good. I know that he knew what he was doing, and he wouldn't get out there if he felt uncomfortable."

Cueto, ordered by the Reds not to participate for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic that begins next week, made his first game appearance since he went down with a strained right oblique eight pitches into last season's NL division series against San Francisco.

He brushed aside the results and said he was just glad to be back on the mound and feeling good.

"That is just what I wanted to do, get out there and pitch to hitters," Cueto said. "I threw about 40 pitches. I didn't feel my oblique. I felt nothing in it. I gave up some hits but I was able to throw what I wanted to, thank God."

The first of Aaron Hill's two doubles drove in two runs off Cueto after three-time Gold Glove second baseman Brandon Phillips bobbled a double-play grounder in the opening inning.

A Reds lineup of mostly minor leaguers outscored its Arizona counterpart 13-2 over the last four innings.

Notes

Because Cueto finished the season injured, the Reds had the right to block his participation in the World Classic. ... Arizona C Miguel Montero was back in the lineup after missing two games with a swollen right thumb. ... Phillips, who figures to be the everyday second baseman for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, had five errors all of last season. ... Team USA is scheduled to hold its only pre-WBC workout Monday at Scottsdale's Salt River Fields, the spring home of Arizona and Colorado.

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Brandon McCarthy strikes out four in two innings in his first game since taking a liner to the head on Sept. 5. (AP)
Brandon McCarthy strikes out four in two innings in his first game since taking a liner to the head on Sept. 5. (AP)

Players of the Game
Arizona

A. Hill
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 2
Cincinnati

D. Lutz
AB 3
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 5
 
Cincinnati Reds
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Billy Hamilton, CF1000110 .111
   a- Ryan LaMarre, PH-CF3210112 .111
Brandon Phillips, 2B2010000 .273
   b- Kris Negron, PH-2B3221010 .500
Joey Votto, DH3011011 .400
    Xavier Paul, PR-DH1311100 .200
Ryan Ludwick, LF2000011 .200
   c- Derrick Robinson, PH-LF2100113 .125
Denis Phipps, RF2110000 .250
   d- Yorman Rodriguez, PH-RF2323100 .500
Neftali Soto, 1B1001010 .400
   e- Donald Lutz, PH-1B3225000 .500
Jack Hannahan, 3B2000010 .222
   f- Henry Rodriguez, PH-3B3031000 .700
Miguel Olivo, C2010000 .250
   g- Nevin Ashley, PH-C3000012 .167
Jason Donald, SS2000001 .250
   h- Cesar Izturis, PH-SS3010001 .273
Totals4014161359  
a-doubled for Hamilton in the 6th
b-tripled for B. Phillips in the 6th
c-walked for Ludwick in the 6th
d-walked for Phipps in the 6th
e-doubled for Soto in the 6th
f-singled for Hannahan in the 6th
g-grounded into a double play for Olivo in the 6th
h-grounded out for Donald in the 6th
Batting
2B - Ryan LaMarre (1, Peralta), Yorman Rodriguez (2, Siemens), Donald Lutz (1, Peralta), Henry Rodriguez (2, J. Bradley)
3B - Kris Negron (1, Peralta), Denis Phipps (1, McCarthy)
HR - Xavier Paul (1, Paterson), Yorman Rodriguez (1, Simmons), Donald Lutz (1, J. Bradley)
SF - Neftali Soto (1)
RBI - Kris Negron (2), Joey Votto (5), Xavier Paul (2), Yorman Rodriguez 3 (5), Neftali Soto (3), Donald Lutz 5 (5), Henry Rodriguez (2)
2-OUT RBI - Xavier Paul (1)
PK - Billy Hamilton (1, Figueroa)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - B. Phillips-Donald-Soto, Negron-Izturis-Lutz
E - Brandon Phillips (2, Misplayed grounder), Henry Rodriguez (1, Throwing)
Cincinnati Reds
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Johnny Cueto 2542110 9.00
Clay Hensley 2000020 0.00
Daniel Corcino (W,1-0) 1122410 9.00
Drew Hayes (H,1) 1.1100110 0.00
Chad Rogers (H,1) 1.2000030 7.36
Nick Christiani 1100000 6.75
WP - Daniel Corcino (1), Chad Rogers (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Johnny Cueto 18-14, Clay Hensley 10-10, Daniel Corcino 21-5, Drew Hayes 11-7, Chad Rogers 13-11, Nick Christiani 4-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Johnny Cueto 3-3, Clay Hensley 2-2, Daniel Corcino 1-0, Drew Hayes 2-1, Nick Christiani 3-0
Batters Faced - Johnny Cueto 13, Clay Hensley 6, Daniel Corcino 7, Drew Hayes 6, Chad Rogers 5, Nick Christiani 4
Arizona Diamondbacks
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Adam Eaton, CF3110001 .438
    Brad Snyder, RF2001010 .222
Martin Prado, 3B3111010 .385
    Chris Owings, SS2010011 .143
Aaron Hill, 2B3122000 .444
    Josh Wilson, PR-2B2000001 .400
Jason Kubel, LF1000201 .286
    Alfredo Marte, PR-LF1000100 .300
Miguel Montero, C3000002 .000
    Tuffy Gosewisch, C2010001 .250
Cody Ross, RF1001010 .000
    Tony Campana, CF1100112 .000
Eric Chavez, DH2010000 .571
   a- A.J. Pollock, PH-DH1100102 .167
Kila Ka'aihue, 1B2000012 .143
    Mark Teahen, 1B1000100 .250
Cliff Pennington, SS2110010 .500
    Matt Davidson, 3B1001010 .182
Totals3368668  
a-walked for Chavez in the 6th
Batting
2B - Aaron Hill 2 (3, Cueto, Corcino)
3B - Cliff Pennington (1, Cueto)
SF - Cody Ross (1), Matt Davidson (1)
RBI - Brad Snyder (2), Martin Prado (5), Aaron Hill 2 (2), Cody Ross (1), Matt Davidson (1)
SB - Brad Snyder (1, 2nd base off Hayes/Ashley)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Owings-Wilson-Teahen
Arizona Diamondbacks
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Brandon McCarthy 2311040 4.50
Nelson Figueroa (H,1) 3000110 1.80
Starling Peralta (BS,1; L,0-1)0466200 54.00
Joe Paterson 2211031 2.70
Seth Simmons 1211011 9.00
Taylor Siemens 0.1244200 36.00
James Bradley 0.2311001 13.50
Pitches-Strikes - Brandon McCarthy 18-17, Nelson Figueroa 14-10, Starling Peralta 12-4, Joe Paterson 13-13, Seth Simmons 10-8, Taylor Siemens 11-3, James Bradley 6-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brandon McCarthy 1-1, Nelson Figueroa 1-6, Joe Paterson 2-0, Seth Simmons 1-1, James Bradley 1-1
Batters Faced - Brandon McCarthy 9, Nelson Figueroa 9, Starling Peralta 6, Joe Paterson 7, Seth Simmons 5, Taylor Siemens 5, James Bradley 5
Game Information
Attendance - 6263
Game Time - 3:18
Temperature - 62
Umpires - Home - Ben May, First Base - Paul Schrieber, Second Base - Scott Barry, Third Base - Adrian Johnson