Brandon McCarthy knows he has to be at his best to crack rotation – Orange County Register

PHOENIX – Brandon McCarthy is aware how high the bar is set if he expects to start games for the Dodgers again this season.

“The goal right now is not just to get back and pitch,” the Dodgers veteran right-hander said. “We’re aware of what’s happening. We’re aware of how good guys are that are starting right now. It’s not just get back and pitch for a contract. It’s get back and pitch at my best so you can help what this club is doing. Anything less than that isn’t an asset.”

McCarthy has pitched well at times for the Dodgers this season, going 6-4 with a 3.84 ERA in 16 starts. But he hasn’t pitched for the Dodgers since July 20 due to a combination of inconsistent mechanics and a blister on his pitching hand that McCarthy says “refuses to completely go away.”

“It just keeps staying pretty much the exact same way,” he said. “Usually I get it every year and once it callouses it just stays calloused. This year, every time I get a callous the whole callous will rip off and it starts over and over again. Another blister will form under the callous.

“I don’t understand why the hell it keeps happening even with the last month being a lot of throwing but not pitching-throwing and that’s what rips it open. I’m kind of out of answers there.”

McCarthy made a rehab start with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga last week but Dodgers manager Dave Roberts described McCarthy as “not completely encouraged” by the results even though he pitched three hitless innings. McCarthy said that was a “fair” characterization.

“It wasn’t big league-quality pitching,” he said, describing some frustration with the inconsistency of his pitch quality.

“It’s just kind of working through everything. It’s getting to a place where not only am I comfortable but I’m at my best.”

There isn’t much time left to get there. The minor-league season ends next week. McCarthy will throw another bullpen session at Chase Field on Thursday then make a second rehab start this weekend.

“Yeah, the calendar is kind of against him and other guys coming back,” Roberts said.

“We’ll try and get him through this (rehab start) and see how it looks. … We expect him to pitch well. Once that happens, we’ll have a decision to make on where he fits in and what role.”

The Dodgers’ starting rotation will already be overflowing by the end of this weekend. Clayton Kershaw and Alex Wood are scheduled to come off the DL, joining Yu Darvish, Rich…

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