The tendinitis especially flared up during McCarthy’s most recent start, when he went five innings and allowed three runs against the Orioles. He owns a 5.40 ERA across his past four starts, including allowing six home runs in 21-2/3 innings.
He felt it during an at-bat Sunday, and said it became nearly unbearable by the fourth inning. When he didn’t feel comfortable in a later bullpen session, the team decided to sideline him.
“It just wasn’t getting any better,” manager Brian Snitker said. “We just felt at this point, again, it’s like all those guys. You don’t want them looking for a spot where things don’t hurt or they’ll end up hurting something else. If it’s enough to bother him, especially in your legs, it’s a big deal. Just trying to get him right again.”
Snitker hopes McCarthy won’t miss more than one start, which would’ve been Saturday in St. Louis. But he described it as a “play it by ear” situation.
“Manage it and get it back to a place I’m comfortable moving forward,” said McCarthy, who maintained he could be activated before the All-Star break in mid-July. “The training staff here is great. It’s just up to me to do what they tell me to do and see where we get each day.”
McCarthy’s mind was eased by the Braves’ rotation depth. He would’ve been more pressed to continue battling the pain if the team lacked depth.
“If we were really thin and guys were clawing left and right, you’d say I’ve got to keep going because I’m needed,” McCarthy said. “There have been guys who come up, Wis (Matt Wisler) has been really good when he’s come up, really so many guys behind that can fill in, that it doesn’t make me feel like, ‘OK, I’m really leaving us hanging.’
“Me pitching at 30 percent is nothing this team needs. Those guys coming up, and they’re hungry, is way better for this team, so let’s give them a chance, and I think they’ll be just fine.”
The Braves acquired McCarthy in a salary-swap trade with the Dodgers in December. He’s given them a 4.92 ERA in 15 starts, striking out 65 and walking 21 in 78-2/3 innings.