PITTSBURGH -- Just a little more than 24 hours after receiving news of his callup while having breakfast with his family at Panera Bread, Eric Fryer arrived in the Pirates' clubhouse to find his name in Sunday's starting lineup. It was the Major League debut for the 25-year-old catcher who was playing Class A ball at this time last summer.
"It didn't really cross my mind," Fryer said when asked if he could have anticipated such a rapid climb through the Minors this season. "I was hoping just to start in [Double-A] Altoona and kind of play myself [up] as soon as possible. Obviously, my results have been pretty good in the Minors, so hopefully that kind of continues now."
Fryer did start with Altoona, where he batted .345 and drove in 16 in 37 games. The production, along with the Bucs' suddenly depleted catching depth, prompted the organization to bump Fryer up to Triple-A, where he hit .262 in 21 games.
Fryer's arrival in Pittsburgh coincided with the club's decision to part ways with Dusty Brown, who disappointed on both the offensive and defensive end. He had three hits in 30 at-bats and was surprisingly shaky as a receiver.
"I think the combination of [Fryer's] skill set at this time gives us a better option at catcher than Dusty's," manager Clint Hurdle said. "Dusty gave us everything he had. Offensively, there wasn't much he was able to put forward and we had some troubles on defense."
Michael McKenry will still get the majority of starts for the Pirates, who are 8-4 since the team acquired him from the Red Sox.
"I still just want to, as best I can, run the pitching staff," Fryer said. "That's the one priority. Hopefully that continues up here."