After long reliever Vidal Nuno went 2 2/3 innings in the Orioles' 6-3 comeback win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night, the club summoned an extra left-handed reliever from the minor leagues before Tuesday night's game, recalling Paul Fry from Triple-A Norfolk and optioning right-hander Stefan Crichton back to the Tides.
Fry was acquired by the Orioles on April 14 in a trade with the Seattle Mariners for international bonus slot No. 105, worth $198,000 in bonus money that the Orioles rarely use. He made two scoreless relief appearances for the Tides and didn't allow a hit over 2 2/3 innings. He struck out four and walked one.
Fry said he was "speechless" after he was told by Norfolk manager Ron Johnson early Tuesday morning that he was getting promoted to the major leagues for the first time in his career.
"I had two outings in Norfolk after getting there," Fry said. "I hadn't played a home game yet. I was pretty excited."
Orioles left-hander Donnie Hart was a teammate of Fry's in the Arizona Fall League two offseasons ago for the Peoria Javelinas and said the team is adding a quality reliever who will throw strikes.
"He's got a good fastball," Hart said. "What I remember of him, he keeps the ball in the bottom of the zone. He's a quiet kid, spent a month and a half with him.
"But other than that, he's got a good slider and, honestly, I think what you're going to get from him is he's going to attack the zone. He's not going to be afraid to throw the ball over the plate and use his stuff. I look forward to it. I think this is his first time in the big leagues, so hopefully what he has can show out there when he gets on the mound. You're not up here to sit on the bench — you're going to get used."
Fry, 24, has a 2.85 career ERA in parts of five minor league seasons, including a 2.78 mark in 55 innings last season at Triple-A Tacoma.
"He's been a pretty successful pitcher," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He has a good track record at that level. We'll see if it plays up here. … We'll see. Good stuff. I've watched a lot of tape on him when we were thinking about acquiring him and since then. Good strong-looking kid."
Fry has been in the Orioles organization for less than two weeks – he was designated for assignment by the Mariners, the team that drafted him, before the O's traded for him – so he's still getting used to new surroundings and a new opportunity.
"After getting DFA'ed, those next couple days are pretty tough," Fry said. "Once I found out I was traded, I was like, 'This is a big opportunity. I'm going to make the most of it. … It was a tough day getting DFA'ed but I know everything works out for a reason, everything happens for a reason, and being here, I'm really happy about it."
Crichton, who went from not being in major league camp this spring to joining the 25-man roster in the second weekend of the season, allowed three runs in three innings over two appearances.
"Every opportunity we can [have] to get our arms around these guys – we're trying to figure out who we can count on and who we can't as we move forward – is important," Showalter said. "I think Crichton has a chance to be one of those guys. It's part of the process. He came up here and got his feet wet. We tell these guys that roster doesn't mean anything. If we're told you're the best option here, we'll figure out a way to get you here, and Stefan was at the time and will be again at some point. But it's a good step for him."
Rain a factor in Rickard rehab
The Orioles were eyeing outfielder Joey Rickard's possible return from the disabled list Friday, when the club opens a three-game series at Yankee Stadium, but inclement weather is offering a challenge in getting Rickard's rehab games in.
The club wanted Rickard, currently on the DL with a sprained left middle finger, to get three minor league rehab games under his belt. He was scheduled to play his second game Tuesday night at Low-A Delmarva, but that game was rained out.
Rickard will remain at Delmarva on Wednesday, serving as designated hitter in the first game and playing left field in the second. Showalter said Rickard should be ready to be activated after that.
Scheduling Rickard's rehab games has been a challenge for the Orioles, especially since they want him to see a high level of competition as he works his way back. He was assigned to Delmarva because of bad weather at closer affiliates.
Showalter also left the possibility open that Rickard could be activated and optioned to Norfolk after playing his third game in Delmarva on Wednesday night.
“That’s always out there,” Showalter said. “I hope not. I’d like to bring him back here, but I’m just throwing it out there. I don’t see it happening. Maybe someone has a better idea why it should happen.”
Britton could return Sunday
After closer Zach Britton throws a bullpen session Wednesday, his next step in his recovery from a left forearm sprain would be going on a brief minor league rehab assignment, Showalter said.
Britton would likely be assigned to either High-A Frederick or Double-A Bowie to pitch Friday, which would make the earliest he could be activated from the disabled list be Sunday for the series finale in New York.
"We'll see how it goes tomorrow," Showalter said. "He felt good today."
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