Sunday, June 26, 2011

Eric Fryer, #50

Today (Sunday June 26, 2011) may have been the best day for OSU major leaguers in years. Nick Swisher hit a home run in the Yankees’ win over the Rockies, while Cory Luebke got his first start of the year for San Diego (on the roster all season, he’s made 29 relief appearances) and pitched five shutout innings, allowing one hit and two walks while fanning six. The third Buckeye in the majors had the least impressive game (0-3 with a walk, plus getting flattened by David Ortiz on a play at the plate), but his is the most significant performance of the day since it was his major league debut.

Eric Fryer became the fiftieth Buckeye to play in the majors (although the unconfirmed list I maintain now numbers 59) when he started for Pittsburgh at catcher. Fryer was the starting catcher for OSU from the day he set foot on campus, playing from 2005-07 until he was a 10th round pick by Milwaukee. The Brewers dealt him to the Yankees for Chase Wright in the 2009 pre-season, and they passed him along to the Pirates that summer for Eric Hinske. Both Milwaukee and New York tried him in the outfield as a minor league, so his long-term prognosis as a catcher is unclear, and to have a real major league career he’ll almost certainly have to stick behind the plate. But Pittsburgh has shown a commitment to using him as a catcher, and a strong minor league showing in 2011 (.320/.408/.520 in 201 PA between AA and AAA) opened the door for a major league roster spot.

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