Former Beavers wind up for Chicago White Sox
WASHINGTON — Players come and go in the major leagues, and that is especially true of bullpens that seem to have an annual turnover for nearly every club.
Beaverton native Jace Fry, a lefty reliever, has had a slew of teammates in the minor and major leagues since he was drafted out of Oregon State by the Chicago White Sox in the third round in 2014.
Then, in April of this season, Southridge High graduate Fry had yet another new teammate — but one who shared a common past: Josh Osich, another bullpen lefty from Oregon State.
"It was cool because we rely on a lot of the same experiences," says the 6-1 Fry, 25, who broke into the majors with the White Sox in 2017. "Playing under Pat Casey, you know you have a solid teammate and one that will put in a lot of work. We have pretty similar backgrounds, so we talk a lot about pitching and baseball."
Those experiences include playing for Casey, who announced his retirement in September after 24 years as the Beavers coach and recently affirmed that he would not be back with the OSU program.
"Under Casey, you always know you have a solid team and one that will put a lot of work in," Fry says.
Osich finished his Beavers career in 2011. Osich brought to the White Sox a resume of 160 games with the San Francisco Giants from 2015-18. He broke into the majors with the Giants the year after they won the World Series in 2014.
"We talk about Oregon State quite a bit, how different it was from his class to mine and how it is now," Fry says. "They have established such a good reputation that now recruiting is easy. Now everyone wants to go there."
Other former Oregon State products who have appeared in the majors this year include Andrew Moore (Seattle), Matt Boyd (Detroit), Michael Conforto (New York Mets) and Sam Gaviglio (Toronto).
Catcher Adley Rutschman, already honored as college baseball's player of the year for 2019, was the No. 1 overall pick by the Baltimore Orioles earlier this month.
"It is pretty cool. There are a few of us (Beavers) scattered around the league," Osich says.
Osich, 30, played in San Francisco under manager Bruce Bochy, a possible Hall of Famer who has won three World Series titles and will retire after this season.
Osich "has a lot of good knowledge, especially coming from San Francisco," Fry says of Osich. "There is a lot of good history there. He has a lot of stories about San Francisco and older players."
Osich, 30, appeared in 12 games with the Giants in 2018 and posted an 8.25 ERA. He was let go by San Francisco on Feb. 12 and picked up by the Orioles on Feb. 19. The White Sox claimed him off waivers from Baltimore on March 11.
"It is part of the game, getting (designated for assignment) or traded," Osich says. "I have a new opportunity here, and I am trying to make the best of it. I am trying to prove that I am better than I am in other years."
The 6-2 native of Boise, Idaho, began the season with Triple-A Charlotte in the International League, then was brought up to the White Sox on April 12.
In games through Sunday, he was 0-0 with a 5.18 ERA in 21 appearances for the White Sox, with 24 hits and five walks and 20 strikeouts in 24.1 innings.
Fry went on the disabled list June 10 with a sore left shoulder, then returned about 10 days ago. He also has struggled at times this spring for Chicago, which was 36-39 and third in the American League Central through Sunday.
Fry was 1-2 (5.33) in his 30 outings, with 22 hits allowed in 25.1 innings. He had 32 strikeouts and 17 walks.
Before he latest injury, he pitched in both games of a short two-game series against the Washington Nationals in early June. Fry got one out without allowing a run on June 4 in Washington and the next afternoon allowed a run without recording an out in a game the Nationals won 6-4 with a walk-off homer by shortstop Trea Turner in the last of the ninth off White Sox reliever Alex Colome.
"I started off a little rough and have settled in pretty well," Fry says. "I am throwing the ball the way I want to. I am getting the ball over the plate and attacking the zone."
Don Cooper is the pitching coach for the White Sox, and Curt Hasler is the bullpen coach. Cooper has been with the organization for more than 30 years, and Hasler has been part of the White Sox for nearly three decades.
"They are good at taking your personal arsenal and implementing it," Fry says. "Stay tall and stay back and drive the ball downhill. They will take your pitches and see how they play; they are good at making it specific for your game."
Fry and Osich could be affected next season if MLB implements a rule requiring a pitcher to face at least three batters unless there is an injury. Many times, lefty relievers come into face just one hitter — normally a left-handed batter. MLB is working to shorten the length of games, with limited success.
"I don't know how it is going to speed up the game." Osich says. "What if (the new reliever) is giving up a lot of runs?"