PHOENIX -- It's official.On Tuesday, Oakland manager Bob Melvin announced Brandon McCarthy as the A's Opening Day starter against the Mariners on March 28 in Japan. Veteran Bartolo Colon, 38, will start the second game of the season. "I thought it was a natural based on what [McCarthy] accomplished last year," Melvin said. "With some of the pitchers that we ended up traded away, we had a good feeling that would be the case. Then we have the experience of Colon and we have some competition for the other spots." Last season, McCarthy had a career-year, going 9-9 with a 3.32 ERA in 25 starts for the A's. He struck out 123 hitters and walked only 25 in 170 2/3 innings. "Part of the fact that he is a bit ahead is that he knows he has to get ready a little earlier," Melvin said. "I don't want to say he is set up, but he is very aware of the timing of when he will pitch, and, therefore, it seems that he is a little ahead of guys."
It's been a long road for McCarthy. He went 13-15 with a 4.68 ERA in 44 starts for Texas from 2007-09, which included four stints on the disabled list. He spent all of '10 in the Minors, another season interrupted by shoulder problems."It's credit to him. He's transformed himself in a number of ways," Melvin said. "Sometimes, you learn quite about it yourself physically when you go through those injuries. You are very aware of your body and when it is pushing a little bit. He's a smart guy and he understands all ends of it." Melvin credited McCarthy's work ethic as a big reason for the pitcher's recent success. He compared McCarthy's preparation to that of Curt Schilling. "Curt started the day after he pitched by looking at lineups of the other clubs and video of the other clubs and how to game plan starting the next day. Brandon is the same way," Melvin said. "They are both guys that on the day that they pitch, you leave them alone and let them do their thing because they are very routine-oriented." Like McCarthy, the manager said that Colon is role model for the young pitchers in the organization. Colon, who won nine games and had 4.00 ERA for the Yankees last season, signed a one-year deal with Oakland in January. "He knows what works for him and doesn't try to do too much, as far as adding pitches," Melvin said. "When you are experience liked he is, he reads hitters very well. He can read swings. He's probably not the most talkative guy in the world, but he's another guy you learn some things from by watching how he goes about his business."