Gray pitched two scoreless innings in his first spring training appearance Saturday night against the San Diego Padres. The 29-year-old right-hander, who was acquired in an offseason trade with the New York Yankees, was supposed to get into a game last week, but was scratched because of elbow discomfort.
“I was nervous, in a good way,” Gray said. “Excited more than nervous, I guess.”
Gray allowed two hits and struck out three, including Manny Machado. The Reds are counting on Gray to help lead their revamped rotation, handing over a new contract after the trade that added $30.5 million from 2020-22 and includes a 2023 club option.
“To come away with no runs and no walks, I’m very pleased,” Gray said. “Where we were a week and a half ago, to now, it’s good and I feel really good moving forward.”
He showed no signs of any health issues against San Diego, mixing in fastballs and breaking pitches in his first game since last September, when he was mopping up for the Yankees.
The former first-round pick from Vanderbilt finished the season with a 4.90 ERA and was not included on New York’s postseason roster, capping an unhappy 1 1/2 seasons in the Bronx after being acquired from the Oakland Athletics.
On Saturday, at least, everything seemed just fine with Gray.
“I threw a couple (high fastballs) up there. I was able to throw the curveball,” Gray said. “I had some swings and misses in the zone. That’s a good indicator on the effectiveness and the sharpness of your pitches.”