Rehab starts are all about feeling good on the mound, with results often in the background of the outing. Max Fried saw success in both areas Monday. Atlanta's seventh-ranked prospect struck out 10 while allowing one hit and one walk over 6 2/3 scoreless frames as Double-A Mississippi cruised past Mobile,
Rehab starts are all about feeling good on the mound, with results often in the background of the outing. Max Fried saw success in both areas Monday.
Atlanta's seventh-ranked prospect struck out 10 while allowing one hit and one walk over 6 2/3 scoreless frames as Double-A Mississippi cruised past Mobile, 7-3, at Trustmark Park.
Fried's night began expediently with three groundouts in the first inning. The left-hander recorded his first two strikeouts in the second before issuing his lone free pass to Sherman Johnson. He added a pair of strikeouts in a 1-2-3 third.
"I wanted to get out there and just try to pound the strike zone," the 24-year-old said. "My last outing, I noticed that I was kind of shying away from contact early. It was more of wanting to get out there, get some weak contact, get the defense going and kind of just keep it rolling from there."
With one out in the fourth, Jack Kruger beat out an infield single to shortstop. A forceout put Jose Rojas on first, and with Zach Gibbons batting, Rojas swiped second base. Working with a runner in scoring position for the first time, Fried coaxed a tapper back to the mound to end the threat.
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The 2012 first-round Draft selection of the Padres retired the final nine batters he faced, striking out the last four.
"I didn't even know that, to be honest," he said. "For me, it was more about trying to stay focused pitch to pitch and really just trying to focus on the next pitch. ... It was more about trying to execute every single pitch to the best of my abilities."
After fanning Rojas for the second out of the sixth, Fried, who was slotted to throw between 85 and 90 pitches, exited at 86 -- 61 for strikes. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound hurler thinks he's ready to have the leash taken off for his next start, whether it's in the Minors or with Atlanta.
"I feel like I'm ready to go," Fried said. "I feel confident. Wherever that may be, I don't know. I can't control that. It's one of those things where I'm just trying to stay focused on myself."
With plenty of positives to take away from the outing, the effectiveness of his changeup pleased him the most.
"I was getting a lot of swings-and-misses, a lot of weak contact on it," MLB.com's No. 70 overall prospect said. "I felt like I could establish that pitch in any count. When I get that going, it makes my fastball and my curveball play up a little more. Having that tonight I felt like was my best weapon."
It was the second rehab start for Fried, who delivered 4 2/3 scoreless innings with six strikeouts and three walks for Triple-A Gwinnett last Wednesday as he works back from a left middle finger blister that landed him on the 10-day disabled list on July 6. In the hours after his performance Monday, the Santa Monica, California native felt healthy.
"Everything's totally good," he said. "It's just one of those things where it just pops up out of nowhere sometimes. We're just doing the best we can to try and manage it, being as proactive as possible."
Blisters have been an issue for Fried since 2016, when he first experienced them with Class A Rome. Last season, they bothered him throughout various levels.
"Sometimes you can feel a hot spot," the southpaw said. "Other times, it just happens on one pitch and nothing you can really do about it. It's all about managing it, kind of sucking it up and pitching through it sometimes when it's not terrible. For the most part, it's case by case."
Fried has made seven appearances (three starts) for the big league club this season, going 1-3 while allowing nine earned runs over 20 2/3 innings. He made his Major League debut last September and started four games for Atlanta during the final month of the season, finishing 1-1 with a 3.81 ERA in 26 innings.
Daniel Lockhart scored all three times he reached base, including a solo shot in the sixth. Travis Demeritte drove in two runs with a pair of doubles.
Bo Way lined a two-run single for the BayBears.
Chris Bumbaca is a contributor for MiLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter @BOOMbaca.