Reinstated from the 60-day disabled list on Friday, Brandon McCarthy was in a new role Saturday night and brought with him a modified delivery. The relief appearance was McCarthy’s second in the past two seasons.
He allowed one run on two hits and struck out two in three innings. “I got into a nice rhythm early,” McCarthy said. “It’s a little different coming out of the ‘pen. There’s less of a chance to feel your way through it, but I got some quick outs and that helped.”
When working from the windup, McCarthy paused once his hands went above his head. The hitch resembled the stop Hideo Nomo used in his delivery.
McCarthy implemented the change a couple weeks ago, at the suggestion of Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt. “Just kind of something to work on pace and direction,” McCarthy said of the change.
“It’s a very pronounced pause at the back that’s almost settling there before going forward again. It takes some of the rushing out of the delivery. It looks weird and feels like it takes forever, but it definitely feels comfortable.”
That McCarthy returned from the disabled list at this juncture in the season came as a bit of a surprise. He’d been sidelined since July 24 (retroactive to July 21) due to a blister on the third finger of his right hand. McCarthy has also battled knee tendinitis this season.
“It’s been a weird, weird year,” he said. “You kind of feel like you’re on an island by yourself the last couple months. You going in and doing work every day but you’re not contributing. It’s been a weird year, but I’m just trying to end it on a good note.”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was pleased with what he saw from McCarthy. “He really threw the baseball well. It was very encouraging,” Roberts said.
The right-hander is expected to make a second relief appearance within the next three games or so.