Melvin keeping close eye on pitchers' innings

Melvin keeping close eye on pitchers' innings

OAKLAND -- Even opposing Rangers hurler C.J. Wilson anticipated a complete game from Brandon McCarthy on Wednesday, when the A's righty exited his start after seven innings with just 79 pitches to his line.

But the early pull was part of an ongoing effort by Oakland manager Bob Melvin to carefully monitor the innings of each of his pitchers, especially those like McCarthy who have a long history with injuries.

McCarthy compiled just 56 1/3 innings with Texas' Triple-A affiliate last season, which was interrupted by shoulder problems, but following Wednesday's performance was at the 162 2/3 mark this season. Fellow righty Rich Harden pitched 115 1/3 innings last year and, in just three months this season, has racked up 76 2/3 innings. Meanwhile, Guillermo Moscoso -- who, like McCarthy and Harden spent the 2010 season in Texas' organization -- is up to 167 1/3 innings between Triple-A and Oakland this year after throwing 124 last season.

"We're cognizant of all that," Melvin said. "We've got a lot of number-crunching going on to make sure we're not overworking these guys and giving them a chance to stay healthy."

It's a plan that has served well for Harden, who despite not making his first start of the year until July 1 has been injury-free since -- marking a rather encouraging time for the oft-injured veteran. He's slated to make just one more start this year, on Sunday in Anaheim.

"I know he's proud of the fact he's getting to the finish line healthy and still pitching effectively," Melvin said.