McCarthy nearing first start in nearly two months

A’s right-hander Brandon McCarthy got through a 25-pitch bullpen session without any issues on Wednesday, putting him in the clear for Friday’s start in Chicago.

It will be his first in the Majors since June 19, after dealing with the same right shoulder soreness that has plagued much of his career. Though missed, the A’s have done just fine without him, moving from four games under .500 (32-36) at the time of his setback to eight above it (59-51) entering Wednesday.

When healthy, McCarthy has proved to be one of the league’s best, having compiled a 2.54 ERA in 12 starts for the A’s. He’s completed at least six innings in all but two of them and gotten through seven in seven outings.

When stepping to the mound against his former White Sox club Friday, in place of the injured A.J. Griffin, McCarthy will be expected to tally 80-90 pitches.

“For him, that gets him through a lot of innings,” A’s pitching coach Curt Young said. “He’s very efficient with his pitches. That’s the key to his game. He gets a lot of early outs and makes things happen quick.”

McCarthy made two rehab appearances with Triple-A Sacramento, his most recent coming Sunday, when he utilized just 73 pitches despite striking out nine over six shutout innings, allowing just two hits and issuing two walks.

His return is welcoming news for an already pitching-rich A’s club, which is also close to getting lefty Brett Anderson back. Anderson is slated to throw 90 pitches for the River Cats in Oklahoma City on Friday, before throwing 100 five days later, at which point the A’s will assess his readiness for big league action.

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