With a scary head injury seven months in the rearview mirror, starter Brandon McCarthy will make his Arizona Diamondbacks debut on Wednesday night in the rubber match of a three-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals.
McCarthy will also be making his National League debut after spending his first seven seasons in the American League, including stints with the Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics. He spent the last two years with the A's, but saw his 2012 campaign end after being struck on the right side of the head on Sept. 5 versus the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
The right-hander suffered an epidural hemorrhage, brain contusion and a skull fracture, ending his season after 18 starts with an 8-6 record and 3.24 earned run average. McCarthy underwent surgery that night and was discharged six days later.
The 29-year-old, who had also battled a shoulder injury last season, signed a two-year deal with the Diamondbacks this offseason and will face the Cardinals for the first time in his career.
Opposing McCarhty will be right-hander Lance Lynn, who won 18 games for the Cardinals a season ago but struggled following the All-Star break.
Lynn went 11-4 with a 3.41 ERA in 17 outings in the first half, but his ERA rose to 4.32 over 18 second-half appearances, including 12 starts. He still went 7-3 in that span, though he was taken out of the rotation for two weeks from late August until early September.
St. Louis is hoping that last year's experience will help Lynn stay strong all season and he gets his 2013 campaign started with his fourth career appearance versus the Diamondbacks. Only one of those previous meetings was a start and Lynn picked up a victory in that outing on May 7 in Arizona with five scoreless innings. The 25-year-old allowed three hits and four walks while striking out seven and the outing was the final one of a season-opening six- start winning streak.
Lynn will hope to get another winning streak started and pitch the Cardinals to a second victory in a row after they took Tuesday's meeting with the Diamondbacks 6-1.
St. Louis got three home runs in the victory, including Matt Holliday's go- ahead two-run shot in the sixth inning after he drove a low pitch from Arizona starter Trevor Cahill over the fence.
"He went down and golfed that ball out of the air," Cards manager Mike Matheny said. "Typically you're not going to get hurt when you're down in the zone like that, but Matt's got some exceptional ability."
Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia pitched 5 2/3 innings to get the victory, allowing just one run on two hits. However, he also walked four batters, including three straight with two outs in the sixth inning to load the bases. Matheny then opted to go with reliever Edward Mujica, who struck out a pinch- hitting Jason Kubel to end the frame.
but also walked four batters and needed 97 pitches.
Miguel Montero hit a second-inning solo homer for the Diamondbacks, who had only three hits one day after logging 15 in a 6-2 series-opening win.
Cahill fanned seven and gave up three runs on five hits over 5 2/3 innings to take the loss, while reliever Heath Bell gave up a two-run homer to Jon Jay and a solo shot to Pete Kozma in the seventh inning of his Arizona debut.
"He didn't execute his pitches very well tonight," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said of Bell.
The D-backs dropped five of six games to the Cardinals last season.