(Busch Stadium) It was a pair of familiar faces that helped Pittsburgh defeat the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night as David Freese and Eric Fryer drove in four runs to help the Pirates to a 5-3 victory.
“It’s been a pretty smooth transition,” said Fryer, who went 2-4 with 3 RBI in his first start for Pittsburgh. “There’s a big core of guys here that I played with growing up and coming up through the system, so it’s made the transition pretty smooth not having to learn the entire team. Having some guys that kind of know how I play really helps out.”
Fryer was designated for assignment by St. Louis to make room on the roster when Brayan Pena returned from the disabled list. To have his first start against his former team only eased the process.
“It helps because you see their swings, you see how pitchers attack a little bit so you have a little bit of a game plan going forward–it makes it a little easier to prepare,” said Fryer. “But at the same time, it’s all about execution at the plate and execution on the mound so it doesn’t really matter how well you know them, you’ve still got to make pitches and get your pitch to hit.”
When the Cardinals designated Fryer for assignment, Mike Matheny had nothing but positive to say about the catcher, even stating that he deserved a spot on a Major League team.
“I learned a lot from him,” said Fryer, who attended the same high school as his former manager. “I learned a lot from Yadi. It was a great time over there, they treated me well and were pretty much up front with me from the beginning. It was just one of those things that had to work out this way. It was nice of him to say it like that, but I’m on to Pittsburgh now.”
Fryer flew home to be with his family in Reynoldsburg, Ohio after he was designated for assignment as he awaited what would be next.
“My truck’s still in the parking lot right now, so if I needed some suits or something, I’d go in my car and pick it out,” he quipped.
Relieved to be picked up by Pittsburgh, Fryer had also looked down the path of getting back to St. Louis.
“I was proud with how I performed, I didn’t have any regrets there but you never know what’s going to happen,” he said. “Sometimes guys have a need and they fill internally or other places. I was hoping that I’d get picked up, obviously it’s better to be in the big leagues. At the same time, I knew St. Louis was a good place that if I had to go to Memphis then I’d be able to hopefully work my way back up at least in September.”
photo credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports