McCarthy allowed one run on two hits - a single by Gerardo Parra followed by a double by Carlos Gomez - in his two innings of work, throwing an efficient 26 pitches. But more than the results, McCarthy logged another day at the office, getting ready for the regular season.
"I got a better idea of what I need to work on, and where I'm at with some things. It was good to get that out of the way," McCarthy said. "That first inning, you're more nervous and scared to remember what to do. The second inning, I got back into it and felt like I settled down and came away with some positives."
After the run scoring double in the first inning, McCarthy retired his final five batters faced. He finished his day by throwing another roughly 20 pitches in the bullpen, and continued to improve on his delivery.
"Some of the things that were bugging me from the game, I took those down there and tried to iron them out a little bit," McCarthy said. "A lot of it was just mechanics on the curveball and staying through it. Down in the pen I felt like I got better, and I'm becoming more body aware, which is something I want with each given day, where you just become more aware of what's right and what's wrong. By the time you leave here you feel like you're in midseason form in understanding what your body is doing."
Knowing his body and the ability to command a baseball were traits of McCarthy mentioned by manager Don Mattingly prior to Sunday's opening start for the right-hander.
"For us, he's a guy who throws a baseball where he wants, and those kind of guys fit it right with what we do," Mattingly said. "We always feel like if we have guys who can get the ball to spots, we're going to get outs. Most guys have holes, and he's able to get the ball where he wants."
McCarthy has pitched in nine big league seasons and this is his 13th spring training, so he's learned a thing or two along the way. The Dodgers are also his sixth team, but despite his four-year, $48 million contract, McCarthy said he didn't feel the need to impress his new teammates right from the get go in his first spring tilt, something he might have done a decade ago.
"The first time I got traded, I felt like the hardest I have ever thrown was that first spring training game, and then I realized that was pointless," McCarthy recalled. "It becomes more utilitarian in spring training games, just get what you need out of it, as cliche as it is get your work in. Now I just treat it like I was with any other team, just learn what I need, then move on."
One spring start down, five more to go as McCarthy readies himself for the regular season.
The Dodgers travel to Scottsdale on Monday to battle the Giants, with Brett Anderson on the mound making his Dodgers spring debut, facing Matt Cain for San Francisco.