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McCarthy faces hitters for first time since injury

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- For the first time since being struck in the head by a line drive on Sept. 5, D-backs right-hander Brandon McCarthy faced a batter Monday in a live batting-practice session.

As with most of his teammates, McCarthy threw from behind a protective screen for the batting-practice session. A liner off the bat of Erick Aybar fractured McCarthy's skull while he was pitching for the A's, and he sustained a contusion to his brain.

"It honestly is completely normal," McCarthy said of his first time facing hitters. "Anything you would have thought might have been there wasn't. I was more nervous about where my command was at, where my stuff was at."

So no apprehension?

"There's that thought of, 'Is something going to happen? The first time they swing, are you going to duck for cover and run for center?'" McCarthy said. "But it really wasn't there. I threw the first pitch, he didn't swing and it was, 'Oh, this is easy, let's go back and do this again.'"

McCarthy was satisfied with his fastball and curve, but said his changeup was "fairly terrible."

Catcher Miguel Montero was impressed with how McCarthy looked, as was manager Kirk Gibson.

"I think it was a big day for McCarthy," Gibson said. "I thought he threw the ball really well, kept the ball down. The first breaking ball he threw was really sharp. It looked like his mechanics were good, and he threw the ball really well."