White Sox lefty Jace Fry finding his comfort zone

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Jace Fry pitches against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on May 28, 2018 in Cleveland. (Getty Images)

This is what a pitcher on a nice roll sounds like:

‘‘I don’t even see the hitter in the box right now,’’ reliever Jace Fry said. ‘‘I’m so comfortable, it’s like going to the bullpen now when I’m out there. It’s nice.’’

‘‘Nice’’ describes the job the White Sox’ 24-year-old left-hander has done in 11 appearances since being recalled May 4 from Class AAA Charlotte. He has allowed one run, has a 0.83 WHIP and has 15 strikeouts in 12 innings.

It’s a small sample size, but if Fry can sustain a formula that is both simple and foolproof, he knows he can carve out a niche as a left-handed relief specialist, if not more.

The roster for the 16-37 Sox is full of young players trying to get a foot in the door in the organization’s rebuild. Fry is one of them, and he has done what he needs to do so far.

‘‘He’s throwing all his pitches for strikes,’’ Sox bullpen coach Curt Hasler said. ‘‘Ahead in the count, throwing the first pitch for a strike and putting people away. It doesn’t hurt that he has quality stuff.

‘‘He’s getting ahead and putting people away. That is the recipe for success.’’

A third-round pick in the 2014 draft, Fry has encountered more health-related ups and downs than most. He has had Tommy John surgery twice, most recently in 2015, and back surgery in 2011. It was a 1-2-3 whammy that probably dashed his dreams of being a starter but didn’t bury him.

‘‘Back surgery, a couple of elbow surgeries, out 10½ months with the first [Tommy John] and 16 on the second,’’ Fry said. ‘‘But I never got depressed. I knew if I was healthy, I could play a long time.’’

Left-handed relievers who throw strikes can do that.

‘‘He has four plus pitches, life on his fastball, a nice curveball he drops in there for a strike, a slider and changeup,’’ Hasler said.


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Fry’s 2017 tenure with the Sox, in which he allowed eight earned runs in 6‰ innings in 11 appearances, wasn’t as sharp. He said Sox rehab pitching coach Brian Drahman helped get him untracked by improving his balance by widening his base. That has helped him throw downhill and kept his 6-1, 205-pound frame under control.

‘‘I’ve been able to keep my head on the target longer and really stay on top of my pitches,’’ Fry said.

‘‘[Drahman] was really good down in Arizona. He got [rehabbing left-hander] Carlos Rodon throwing the ball really well [during his rehab], too.’’

Left-handed hitters are 1-for-21 with 11 strikeouts against Fry, and right-handers are 4-for-20 against him. He has converted his only save chance, and more high-leverage opportunities are coming his way.

‘‘As long as I can stay in the game and play baseball, I don’t really care where they throw me,’’ Fry said. ‘‘And I know how it works. If you’re hot and successful, they’ll throw you in games you’re winning. If you’re not, they throw you in games you’re losing.’’

On deck: Brewers at Sox

Friday: Chase Anderson (4-3, 4.42) vs. Hector Santiago (1-2, 4.87), 7:10 p.m., NBCSCH+, 720-AM.

Saturday: Jhoulys Chacin (3-1, 3.69) vs. James Shields (1-5, 4.54), 1:10 p.m., NBCSCH, 720-AM.

Sunday: Brent Suter (5-3, 4.63) vs. Dylan Covey (1-1, 3.63), 1:10 p.m., Ch. 9, 720-AM.

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