No. 10 prospect Fried called up, joins bullpen

Braves also promote utility man Peterson, option reliever Hursh

No. 10 prospect Fried called up, joins bullpen

ATLANTA -- It has been a long road for Max Fried, but as he walked into the Braves clubhouse for the first time, he knew that he had finally made it.

Fried, the prized prospect from the 2015 Justin Upton trade, was called up from Double-A Mississippi on Saturday, along with Jace Peterson, from Triple-A Gwinnett. Fried will pitch out of the bullpen, replacing Jason Hursh, who was optioned to Gwinnett.

"It's definitely been a long journey and a lot of obstacles," Fried said. "I couldn't be happier to be here."

Fried is considered one of the Braves top prospects, ranking No. 10 in the organization's farm system, according to MLBPipeline.com. He has battled back from Tommy John surgery, which sidelined him for two years. He said that the surgery has been his motivation to prove he can make it in the Major Leagues.

"There is definitely doubt when you go through a major surgery like that," Fried said. "You don't know if you are going to come back to being the same. But you have to take the rehab process very seriously and make sure you do all the right steps."

In spring, Fried wowed several people with his impressive curveball, which is arguably the best in the organization. However, he has struggled with his command over the course of the season.

In 19 starts with Mississippi, Fried was 2-11 with a 5.92 ERA. He struck out 85 batters, but opponents have hit .268 against him in 86 2/3 innings.

Part of his struggles have been due to a blister on his pitching hand. The injury happened in May and lingered through the season. Fried said that has started to overcome the issue by pitching 10 scoreless frames in his last three outings.

"It was a lot of different hurdles and I never really felt a groove until I shut it down and got my finger right," Fried. "I have been feeling pretty good since I got back."

Braves manager Brian Snitker isn't too worried about Fried's Minor League numbers. He has seen Fried develop and is happy to see him flourish as a long reliever or spot starter.

"I was glad to see him," Snitker said. "When you think back to the first Spring Training game, we brought him in against the Detroit. He faced the heart of that lineup and did OK for himself. It will be good to kind of get him in and let him get a taste of this [MLB action] to see what it is all about."

Fried is the latest to join the Braves youth movement. He follows Lucas Sims and Ozzie Albies as prospects who have been called up this week. The Braves now have three of their top 30 prospects with the team.

"When these young guys are coming up, I get real excited on all of them," Snitker said. "We have been talking about them and now that they are starting to surface, it is exciting."

Jaylon Thompson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Atlanta. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.