Fried excited for chance to make 1st MLB start

Braves' No. 10 prospect set to take mound vs. Cubs on Sunday

Fried excited for chance to make 1st MLB start

CHICAGO -- Max Fried displayed his tremendous potential in his first big league Spring Training this year, and he then spent the next few months at Double-A Mississippi.

At the time, the Braves' left-hander certainly didn't anticipate being so close to his Major League debut and later making his first career start. Fried looks forward to doing the latter when he takes the mound for Sunday afternoon's series finale against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

"If you would have talked to me in May or June when everything was going on, I probably wouldn't have believed you, and I'd have told you you were crazy," Fried said. "I'm really excited and happy to be here, and I really just can't wait to [make the] start."

Fried got an unexpected promotion from Double-A to the Majors in August, and he introduced himself at the game's highest level as a reliever. He made four relief appearances before being optioned to make two abbreviated starts for Triple-A Gwinnett.

After regaining some of his endurance while completing four scoreless innings on Aug. 24, Fried notched just two innings on Wednesday. The Braves pulled him early with the intent to have him to make Sunday's start. Their other option was to bring either R.A. Dickey or Julio Teheran back on short rest.

"It's going to be a really great day," Fried said. "I'm really excited to get out there."

This year has been filled with thrills and disappointment for Fried, who ranks as the Braves' No. 10 prospect by MLBPipeline.com. The 23-year-old hurler had fun showing off his curveball during the Grapefruit League season, and he was humbled as he made the leap from Class A to the Double-A level. He allowed six runs in two of his first five starts, and he completed four innings or fewer three times in that short span.

Some of Fried's struggles were influenced by blisters that developed on his left index and middle fingers. He pitched through the discomfort for nearly two months before being shut down at the end of June for three weeks. He has produced a 1.59 ERA in the 22 2/3 innings he threw between Double-A, Triple-A and the Majors since returning.

"[The blisters] weren't terrible," Fried said. "It was something I thought I could pitch through. Looking back, I probably should have just nipped it in the bud. But me being stubborn and wanting to be out there to pitch made me a little bit of a detriment to myself."

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.