SCOTTSDALE – Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Jon Gray gave up six runs on six hits on Friday afternoon against the Cleveland Indians. For those who read too much into spring training numbers, panic may well have set in when you saw those statistics. However, there is a reason (or two) why some of those numbers were inflated on a sunny afternoon at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.
One of the things that Gray was experimenting with on Friday (and has been during spring training) was a different grip on his changeup, a pitch that the 26-year-old right-hander may not well be known for.
"“Today was the first time that I had used a new changeup grip,” Gray told Rox Pile and other media members after his start that lasted 3.1 innings. “It didn’t go very good, but they weren’t located either. They have good action, I can tell, but they weren’t in the right spot. Nothing was really in the right spot today. It was a tough fight. I was a little disappointed in that but I’m feeling good with how the pitches worked though if I can just get them in the right location.“That changeup has to be down and away to the lefty and down and away to the righty. It can’t be up and in to either.”"
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So will what happened on Friday change how Gray approaches his changeup? He said the experiment will continue here in Scottsdale, hopefully adding another weapon to an arsenal that helped Gray go 10-4 with a 3.67 ERA last season.
"“I love the grip and the action is really good,” Gray said. “It’s better than last year’s changeup. I just need to really find the sight to throw it.”"
Gray also said that he has been toying with a slight change in his delivery as well. He described it as, “adding a little bit more rhythm.” In a case of worst-case scenarios, he said that wasn’t working well on Friday either.
"“I wasn’t really happy with my delivery at all,” Gray said. “I felt really out of whack. I felt rotational.”"
Spring training provides the ultimate experimentation ground with batters and pitchers able to tweak their craft. Unfortunately for Gray, that experimentation happened in front of 9,527 fans inside a sun-splashed stadium.
"“It sucks that it happened out there,” Gray smiled. “I’d rather it happen in a back field game. But then again, it was the ultimate test. I learned a lot today.”"