Oakland pitcher Brandon McCarthy hit in head by line drive

OAKLAND — For one extremely scary moment in the fourth inning Wednesday, the excitement of the pennant race and importance of a three-game series between the Angels and Oakland Athletics disappeared.

Angels shortstop Erick Aybar hit a line drive off the right side of A’s pitcher Brandon McCarthy’s head, the impact causing a sickening thud that one fan, via Twitter, said “sounded like the ball hitting the bat twice.”

An Oakland Coliseum crowd of 15,404 fell silent as McCarthy crumpled to the ground while A’s third baseman Josh Donaldson remarkably fielded the carom and threw out Aybar at first.

The right-hander sat up as athletic trainers from both teams rushed to the mound. McCarthy remained on the ground for several minutes, looking dazed and running his fingers through his hair.

McCarthy walked off the field, as the crowd, including the Angels, gave him a standing ovation. McCarthy never lost consciousness but was taken to Summit Hospital in Oakland for tests, including a CT scan. His prognosis as of Wednesday afternoon looked good, but he was to spend the night at the hospital for observation.

“You feel really bad,” said Aybar, who got McCarthy’s phone number and planned to call him. “He’s a good guy. You never want to hit anybody on the head. Hopefully, everything turns out all right and, God willing, he gets better soon.”

Weaver setback

Jered Weaver returned to Southern California on Wednesday to have his sore right shoulder examined by Dr. Lewis Yocum. He is unlikely to pitch this weekend against Detroit. The right-hander was injured Sunday in Seattle when he took a Dustin Ackley line drive off his shoulder.

“Let’s just wait and see,” Scioscia said when asked whether Weaver had been ruled out for Friday night. “We have time to make a decision.”

With Thursday’s off day, the Angels can start Ervin Santana, C.J. Wilson and Zack Greinke on regular rest against the Tigers, and Dan Haren Monday against Oakland. Weaver’s spot would come up Tuesday.

Scioscia hoped to maximize his use of Weaver in September by keeping him on regular rest despite three off days, but those plans will be scrapped.

Will Zack be back?

Greinke, who will be a free agent this winter, was not noncommittal when asked about the possibility of signing a long-term deal to remain with the Angels.

“I don’t know anything about the future,” said Greinke, who is 3-0 with a 1.66 ERA in his last three starts. “I’ll talk about that, maybe, when the season is over. But I do like it here. It’s a great city, a great team.”

Short hops

Albert Pujols extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a third-inning double. He scored on Howie Kendrick’s single, running faster than he has at any point since injuring his right calf on Aug. 22, and even sliding headfirst into home. … Reliever Kevin Jepsen has not given up a run in 25 of 27 appearances since his July 5 recall from triple-A Salt Lake.