TORONTO–One of the few bright spots in this dismal Orioles season has been Paul Fry, a left-handed pitcher who was acquired from Seattle in April 2017 for International Bonus Slot money.
Fry was recalled by the Orioles shortly after he joined the organization, stayed with the club for two days but never got into a game and returned to Triple-A Norfolk.
His numbers with the Tides weren’t inspiring. In 25 games, he was 4-3 with a 4.66 ERA. In seven games with Double-A Bowie, Fry was much better with an 0.75 ERA.
In June 2017, Fry was taken off the 40-man roster but opted to stay with the organization over the winter. He wasn’t invited to major league spring training, but pitched so well in the minors that he was recalled from Norfolk June 29.
Fry was 3-0 with a 2.84 ERA in 15 games with the Baysox and 0-1 with a 3.47 ERA in 13 games with the Tides.
The 25-year-old was charged with the loss Friday night, though he was undermined by shaky defense.
Fry has a 1.80 ERA in 10 games and is someone manager Buck Showalter is watching closely.
“I tell them all when they come up, ‘listen, just let it rip. Don’t give these guys too much credit. You make good pitches, they’ll make outs,’” Showalter said. “It’s just that mistakes get multiplied up here.”
Team are seeing Fry for the first time, and that could be an advantage.
“What happens when you get through that ambush stage when a lot of guys don’t know him?” Showalter said.
Because Richard Bleier, who also pitched well, is out for the season after lat surgery and Zach Britton is a near-certainty to be traded in the next several days, Fry has an excellent opportunity.
Showalter knows that Fry has been shaky at times, but he likes that he seems to be fearless on the mound.
“You make a mistake thinking 29 other organizations don’t know what they’re doing,” Showalter said “They do. They’ve tried everything with everybody that you acquire. It’s up to you.
“I want to give our scouts the confidence to draft or trade for a semi-flawed player so that you can correct that flaw and you can make them into that complete player.”
The Orioles’ nine-man bullpen will be reduced by one when Andrew Cashner, who has been on the 10-day disabled list with a strained neck, returns Sunday to start against the Blue Jays.
It’s a possibility that Donnie Hart could be cut for the eighth time this season. He was sent to Norfolk March 18, and during the season has returned seven times—often for just a day or two.
This time, Hart has been here since July 10 and in 2018, he has a 3.72 ERA in 10 games. Showalter pointed out after Saturday’s game that Hart is the only reliever not to pitch in the two games following the All-Star break.
He’s more likely to go than Jhan Marinez, who has a 2.70 ERA, because Hart has options remaining and Marinez doesn’t.
If Britton and Brad Brach are traded, Hart should be back and get a chance to stay for the balance of the season.
Showalter will continue with a three-man bench to go with 13 pitchers.
“In a perfect world you wouldn’t, but I think today’s game just about dictates that you do,” Showalter said. “It depends where we are personnel-wise when this trading deadline is over, too.”