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HEIM -- A hefty weight was lifted from the A's clubhouse on Tuesday, when news circulated that pitcher Brandon McCarthy is out of the hospital and back at home just six days after taking a line drive to his head and undergoing emergency brain surgery.
"That's a huge blessing for him and for us," Cliff Pennington said. "We've been worried about him every day."
"Obviously it's been a scary week, and we were all praying and worrying about him," Jarrod Parker said. "We always had him in the back of our minds this whole week, and for him to have a chance to go home in what seems like a really short time after something like that is a big boost for us. We're excited about it and about seeing him soon."
The A's won't see him on the field anytime soon, as the 29-year-old McCarthy is expected to miss the remainder of the season (and postseason) as he continues to heal, but there's still plenty comfort in knowing he's himself again.
McCarthy has taken to Twitter in recent days, showcasing the humor that very much embodies his personality. Moreover, most of the texts he's exchanged with teammates since his surgery have been about the A's fantasy football league, for which he serves as the commissioner.
"I don't think he's very happy I beat him this week," Parker said, smiling.
It was just last Wednesday when Parker and Co. watched McCarthy go down on the Coliseum mound after a line drive from the Angels' Erick Aybar caught him on the right side of his head, fractured his skull and put him on the operating table for two hours to relieve pressure from an epidural hematoma.
"He made some big strides here in a few days, and we're very happy that he's home," manager Bob Melvin said. "I was reflecting on when I was there in the hospital, like, 'How did we get here?' He came off the mound and looked like he dodged one and was feeling OK, and the next thing you know he's having brain surgery. It was surreal, very surreal, and as much progress as he's made and the fact that he's home is very relieving to everyone here."
"The news we were getting was pretty scary," Pennington said. "They felt like he was going to be OK but knew there was still a lot of risk. Any time you hear that, it's just crazy to think about this type of thing happening on a baseball field. This game is so small compared to that. But especially in the last two or three days, he's been Mac, and that's good to see."
McCarthy even relayed a message of appreciation through a release sent out by the A's on Tuesday, after being discharged from California Pacific Medical Campus in San Francisco:
"From the bottom of our hearts, [wife] Amanda and I want to thank everyone who was involved in responding to and treating my injury, starting with Dr. Weber and all the team's medical personnel from doctors Allan Pont, Elliott Schwartz and Jon Dickinson to the Oakland A's athletic trainers, as well as the other physicians and nurses who were on duty around the clock in the Critical Care Unit at California Pacific. We feel the same way about the ambulance driver and those who first met us at the hospital. We could not have been in better hands.
"We also want to express our deep appreciation to our teammates, manager and coaching staff for their concern and encouragement during the uncertain times, and also want to thank all the A's fans who wished us well. It's times like these when you realize you have an extended family, and feel so fortunate. Now we look forward to continuing the healing process, and returning to baseball and our normal lives in the weeks and months ahead. Go A's!"
McCarthy will remain in the Bay Area for at least the next three weeks, and it remains to be seen when he'll resume physical activity again. Meanwhile, the A's will continue their postseason push with a little extra inspiration.
"Something tragic likes this happens, it's something we're going to use as motivation," Pennington said.