It doesn’t take long for baseball to remind everyone what a dangerous sport lurks under the surface of this delicate game. Yesterday, that reminder sent Brandon McCarthy reeling, and has left the game waiting and hoping.

McCarthy took a line drive off the head from the bat of the Angels’ Erick Aybar, and was subsequently rushed to the hospital to undergo emergency surgery to repair a skull fracture. He’s reportedly alert and responding after a two-hour procedure.

McCarthy is one of the more thoughtful players in the game, a pitcher who studies his craft and cracks wise with fans in a smart, intelligent way via his Twitter account. He has led the resurgent A’s this year, earned a spot in the All-Star Game and long ago secured a place with me as being one of the obvious good guys in the game.

It doesn’t need to be said, but this is a scary situation. The pitcher is the most exposed player on the field, and a fastball over the plate can come rocketing back to the mound faster than it arrived. Whenever something like this happens, it’s serious.

Thoughts go out to McCarthy and his family, and wishes to a speedy recovery and a return to a normal life.

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