PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates made a somewhat unexpected roster move on Saturday when, just a little more than an hour before first pitch, the team announced it had designated catcher Dusty Brown for assignment. Eric Fryer, who split time at Double-A and Triple-A this year, was called up to join the big league club and serve as the team's second catcher.
"We appreciate Dusty Brown's efforts, but believe that Eric Fryer has a chance to help this Major League club more than Dusty Brown at this point in time," general manager Neal Huntington said. "This move is the move we feel is best for this club at this time. We will continue to look for logical, rational ways to improve our club."
Immediately following news of the roster move, the clubhouse was closed for a team meeting. Management had warned that a number of moves were likely over the next 10 days to try to shake up a roster that is underachieving offensively. This one, though, seems to be directed more to shoring up the defense.
Since losing Ryan Doumit and Chris Snyder to injuries, the Bucs have maintained that their priority in finding catching replacements is to focus on the defensive end. The club's decision to cut ties with Brown now suggests he wasn't meeting that defensive standard.
"As we continue to move forward and see if there are other upgrades, the focus will continue to be on the game call, the receive, the leadership, the presence, even if it does result in a sacrifice of some of the bat," general manger Neal Huntington said earlier in the week.
Since the Pirates acquired Michael McKenry on June 12, Brown had made just two starts.
Fryer hit .315 in 58 Minor League games this season. He threw out seven of the 21 baserunners attempting to steal. Fryer is the second position player from Indianapolis to be called up in as many days, and he is not likely to be the last. The Pirates are expected to recall outfielder Alex Presley before Tuesday's series in Toronto.
"Sometimes you don't know what a guy can do until you get him up here, and you don't want to put a ceiling on a guy and say those are Triple-A numbers," manager Clint Hurdle said. "Sometimes you need to bring him up and take that step of faith and give them an opportunity to play up here and see what they can do."