Working on a strong spring, Paul Fry looks to cement roster spot

SARSOTA, Fla. - Lefty reliever Paul Fry is still pitching well for the Orioles. Picking up where he left off last year, he’s having a strong spring in Florida. One that should lead him again to a roster spot in the bullpen when this team heads north next week.

After going 1-2 with a 3.35 ERA for the Orioles in 35 games last season, Fry has thrown seven scoreless outings for the club in spring games. Over 8 1/3 innings, he’s allowed four hits with five walks, four strikeouts, a .148 average against and a WHIP of 1.08.

“I like to open people’s eyes with whatever I can do and like to prove myself every day,” said Fry.

He also said he didn’t come into spring feeling he had a leg up on a roster spot after his success last year. He needed to show the new coaching staff what he could do and he’s done that each time out this spring.

Fry-Pitch-Gray-sidebar.jpg“I would say I’ve been able to make quality pitches here,” he said. “I know command is where it usually is this time of spring with walks and whatever. But I’ve thrown some quality pitches when guys do swing, some quality strikes. I haven’t gotten my strikeouts up yet, but they will come. Just keeping the ball down and keeping it on the ground.”

Fry is clearly handling the balancing act of working on his pitches and getting ready for a new season while also getting positive results. Even if that isn’t his top priority.

“In spring, you try not to focus on the numbers and results, but more pitch by pitch,” he said. “You know, the results have been there so far for me, which is cool. But I’ve had some outings where I’ve thrown more balls than I wanted to. But it’s just refining and getting into season mode and the results don’t matter as much in spring.”

Echoing thoughts of just about every pitcher interviewed in this camp, Fry loves his new pitching coach, Doug Brocail.

“I think he is just a great communicator,” said Fry. “Tells you what is going on. He’s honest. Brutally honest sometimes. He can provide constructive criticism and can also tell you that you are the best pitcher in the world at the same time. Honesty and communication is so huge in this game.”

Last year, Fry made his major league debut on June 29 versus the Angels and struck out the first two batters he faced, Kole Calhoun and Mike Trout. His 35 appearances from the time he joined the team through the end of the year led the club. He allowed just 20 percent (six of 30) of his inherited runners to score and that was tops on the Orioles.

Now he wants to finish spring training strong and earn that opening day bullpen spot.

“It’s still a competition and we’re getting close to the end right now,” he said. “Guys are hoping for spots and I hope I get one of them. It definitely goes through your head sometimes (what guys are left battling for jobs). But you have to control what you can control.”

O’s and Pirates today: After a 6-4 loss to the Red Sox last night in Sarasota, the Orioles (12-12-2) play the Pirates today in Bradenton. Right-hander David Hess gets the start versus Chris Archer. I’ll be joined during today’s live stream on Orioles.com and the MLB At Bat app by new Orioles broadcaster Kevin Brown, who made his debut last night on the Orioles Radio Network.

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