Toehold on start upended?
Jon Gray, who has been lined up to pitch on opening day, tweaked the big digit on his left foot Friday.
SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ.» Jon Gray, angling toward an opening-day start for the Rockies at Milwaukee, exited during the third inning of a Cactus League game against the Giants on Friday with what the club is calling a sore big toe on his left foot.
Gray will have the foot examined by doctors Saturday, but “initially, in the dugout, he seemed to think he’ll be fine,” manager Bud Black said.
Five days ago against Oakland, Gray tweaked his foot running out of the batter’s box, Black said. He pitched a regular side session Tuesday and seemed healthy. But the Rockies removed Gray from the batting lineup Friday in a late change, using a designated hitter instead.
“It got better, but he aggravated it,” Black said. “Instead of trying to push through it, we took him out. And that’s why we went with a DH, to make sure we weren’t picking at a scab.”
Gray, a 25-year-old right-hander, breezed through two innings against the Giants without allowing a hit, throwing only eight pitches in the first and 13 in the second. But the Giants bounced him around in the third. Gray gave up seven consecutive hits after striking out Aaron Hill to start the inning. Brandon Belt hit a three-run homer to right field.
Two batters later, Gray was visited on the mound by Black, athletic trainer Scott Gehret and pitching coach Steve Foster. They walked him to the Rockies’ dugout and talked to him for several minutes on the bench.
It appeared Gray may have suffered the toe injury on a pickoff play in the third inning.
“He got on his tippy-toes. Sort of a weird one,” Black said.
After reliever Matt Carasiti finished the third inning, Gray walked to the Rockies’ clubhouse past right field. He didn’t appear to be in pain.
Gray is lined up to pitch on regular rest opening day April 3 at Milwaukee. But the Rockies’ rotation is already stretched. They
are still looking for two pitchers to fill out their season-opening rotation. Chad Bettis started chemotherapy Monday for a recurrence of testicular cancer and lefty Chris Rusin remains out with an oblique injury.
Tyler Anderson and Tyler Chatwood line up after Gray in the rotation. Kyle Freeland and Antonio Senzatela seem set to fill the two remaining spots, while German Marquez and Harrison Musgrave still have a shot. Marquez will pitch Saturday for the Rockies against the Cubs. Jeff Hoffman was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque on Thursday.
So the Rockies are playing cautious with Gray, a presumptive ace who led them in strikeouts last year. Gray was initially penciled in Friday to bat ninth. Black instead inserted Alexei Amarista in left field and moved Gerardo Parra to first base to make Mark Reynolds the DH.
Gray has dominated his spring outings, compiling a 1.42 ERA in 12M innings, including 16 strikeouts and four walks. He left Friday’s game with five runs and seven hits allowed. He struck out three and didn’t issue a walk.
Gray wasn’t available to the media to talk about his injury after the Rockies’ 6-5 loss to the Giants. But Black remained optimistic.
“All indications are he will be fine,” Black said.
The Rockies’ Jon Gray, pitching during drills last month, has dominated his spring outings, compiling a 1.42 ERA in 12M innings, including 16 strikeouts and four walks. John Leyba, Denver Post file