"For now, it's a lot of doing this, sitting around and being bored."
The 28-year-old right-hander has been troubled by shoulder issues for the last several years, but the problem has been much more acute this season, with McCarthy missing time on three separate occasions -- mostly, he says, because of his proactive approach with it.
"I've never done it like this where it's been, miss a start and then make a start and then maybe a quick DL and come off and go through the cycle again," he said. "Usually I've kept going until it's really hurt, and then it's a big shutdown. This year, it's trying to find ways to swim around it, which going forward is probably not something I'll do again, but it was just about trying a different attack to it this year.
"I think more rest, and hopefully I avoid this process again. It's a whole lot of guesswork at this point."
In McCarthy's absence, along with the rotation hole left by the injured Bartolo Colon, Oakland's young starting staff has been remarkable. A's starters entered the day 6-2 with a 1.73 ERA and .157 opponents average over the last 13 games.
And while that work has gone unnoticed by most in the game, McCarthy has been paying attention.
"It's unbelievable, especially considering the youth," he said. "This isn't the five that came out of Spring Training. Everybody is throwing unbelievably well, and they're doing all the things you want to see from a really veteran staff -- lots of strikes, not walking guys, putting guys away when they need to, keeping the ball on the ground, keeping the ball in the yard. If you saw this coming from a Yankees staff or Red Sox staff, it's what you'd expect. It's really outstanding to see and not easy to do."