Jace Fry

Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

White Sox Reliever Jace Fry Making The Most Of His Opportunity

May 20, 2018 - 1:33 pm

By Bruce Levine--

CHICAGO (670 The Score) -- In what's been a rather listless White Sox bullpen this season, left-handed reliever Jace Fry has emerged and is making a name for himself.

The 24-year-old Fry in unscored upon in six appearances and has retired 22 of the 24 batters he has faced this season. Slowly but surely, manager Rick Renteria has moved Fry up on the ladder of his bullpen choices, and his trust in Fry was reflected in using him for the eighth inning and first out of the ninth in the White Sox's 5-3 win against the Rangers on Saturday evening.

"It was awesome getting in there in the eighth inning and even getting the first guy in the ninth," Fry said. "After I got my guy, I was hoping (Renteria) would let me keep going, but it was a good decision. (Nate) Jonesy shut the door, so it was all good."

Fry was a third-round pick out of Oregon State in the 2014 amateur draft. He had a cup of coffee in the big leagues in 2017, registering a 10.80 ERA in 11 appearances.

"His delivery to the plate is much cleaner," Renteria said of Fry's new mechanics. "Last year, he was more lateral in his approach. He has commanded his secondary pitches very, very well. He has a really good mindset. He is a bulldog in his approach. He is confident but not arrogant. He certainly has shown he wants the ball. He has been very effective against lefties and some righties."

Fry has overcome a pair of Tommy John surgeries in his career, in 2012 and 2015. The key to his early success has been better command in the form of lowering his walk rate, which was an issue in the minor leagues. Fry has walked just two batters in 7 1/3 innings this season.

"The first surgery was easy compared to the second Tommy John," Fry said. "The throwing program went clean the first time around, and I was back healthy in 10 months. The second time took 16 months. That was a patience game for me. I had a couple of setbacks. I had to develop a cleaner delivery. I know the third Tommy Johns are often not successful. I had to clean up and change the mechanics that were a part of me for 10 years."

That Fry has become more compact and balanced with a north-south delivery is a testament to hard work and intelligence.

"His arm is definitely back," pitching coach Don Cooper said. "The moral to this story is he got a chance to come up here last year and get a lay of the land. He saw after some things not going right what he had to do to pitch at this level. He has some good weapons. He is dropping all his pitches in for strikes. He is getting ahead in the count. He can go to his curve, slider or changeup at any time. The sinking fastball is good as well." 

Renteria didn't rule out Fry becoming a closer in time.

"We are using him in the sixth and seventh mostly for now," Renteria said. "I am sure in his mind he can close. You can't preclude that from ever happening. He is just starting out so it would be pretty tough for me to put him in that position now. We don't want to put that kind of pressure on him."

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.​​