OAKLAND -- Less than a month after taking a scorching line drive off his head in a game against the Angels, Brandon McCarthy was back in the dugout for the A's, being recognized before Friday's game against the Mariners for being Oakland's nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award.
"It's going to be really nice, one to just cure the boredom of the last couple weeks, but also to just get back around with the guys and the atmosphere again," McCarthy said. "I think it's really kind of what I need to take my mind off of everything and get back to doing stuff and mental stimulation again."
With two outs in the fourth inning of the eventual 7-1 loss to the Angels, McCarthy couldn't avoid a screaming comebacker from Erick Aybar. Able to walk off the field on his own power, McCarthy underwent surgery to alleviate pressure in his skull later that night after a CT Scan showed he had sustained an epidural hemorrhage, brain contusion and skull fracture.
"It really wasn't a surreal thing," McCarthy said. "When it happened, I was aware of what happened for the most part, and then everything kind of afterwards wasn't fun, but I think me and Amanda handled it well. It was just sort of something we had to get through."
McCarthy eventually was released from the hospital six days after the line drive and emergency surgery, and the injury prompted an outpour of well-wishers from outside the A's clubhouse and across the nation.
"I didn't understand that people wishing you well, the value that that has, and I certainly understand that now," McCarthy said. "I can't thank everybody enough."
Not lost in what was first thought to be a potentially career-threatening and and possibly a life-threatening injury has been McCarthy's sense of humor, whether he was joking with teammates through text messages about fantasy football or posting jokes on his Twitter account.
"That's how I get through most of everything," McCarthy said. "I try not to get down with anything, it's just the way my brain works. It tries to find the humor in everything, even a sad situation, a bad game, anything. This was no different."
McCarthy said he is beginning limited physical activity, including riding a stationary bike Friday with the hopes of playing catch Saturday. The only difference in approaching this offseason's training preparations, McCarthy said, will be monitoring concussion symptoms, with the hopes of returning by Spring Training.
"Whenever there's an injury, you're always scared to use that part of your body," McCarthy said, adding that he would investigate some protective gear possibilities. "When I think about pitching, I think 'I have a jello head, and now this is going to be exposed.' There's always that doubt in your mind, but that's the same with any injury. But I'm pretty sure as I get moving physically again and get back to normal life, I think that'll disappear."
Who McCarthy will attempt that comeback with, though, is uncertain. His contract is up at the end of the season, and though he said he hasn't given his situation much thought, McCarthy said he'd be more than interested in returning to the A's.
"Going through something like this where you see the reaction, not only from fans and teammates, but the way the front office handled it -- it was first class," McCarthy said. "They were fantastic to my wife and family, and I can't tell you how much respect I have for the way they treated me."
McCarthy had previously stopped by the clubhouse during Oakland's last home series before leaving before the game, but will stay to watch the remaining six games of the season, starting with Friday's game.
"If you thought about writing a movie about this team, I don't even know where you would pick the narrative to go with," McCarthy said. "Literally, things keep going wrong day after day. Game after game, something happens that we shouldn't be able to overome. But it just doesn't seem to happen."
Jay Lee is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.