Jon Gray walked into Coors Field on Tuesday afternoon and headed to the other side of the field from where he spent the first seven years of his MLB career with the Colorado Rockies.
Now with the Texas Rangers, Gray is still on the injured list with an oblique injury, so he won’t face his former team on this trip to Denver. But that doesn’t mean that there weren’t plenty of things that excited Gray about this two-game midweek series against the Colorado Rockies.
Signed in the offseason to a four-year, $56 million deal, Gray has started 19 games for the Rangers this season but has battled various injuries that have landed him on the IL three times, including twice in April.
“The first month was a little slow for me because there was a knee problem, but after that, I feel like we really got in a steady groove for the rest of the season,” Gray said. “Things were going really well until the oblique happened.
“I’m just trying to get back. I just want to be the same (as before the oblique injury).”
Gray, who was the Opening Day starter for the Rangers in Toronto against the Blue Jays, admits that he would like to be back on the mound against the Rockies under the right circumstances.
“If it was a day three or four, for sure,” Gray smiled. “Day one might be a little tough. Being back here for the first time and doing it, that might be too much of a distraction. But yeah, it would be fun.”
How has pitching changed for Jon Gray since changing altitude and moving from the Colorado Rockies to the Texas Rangers?
“I can tell the changes. It’s been different,” Gray said about his pitching in Dallas versus Denver. “I haven’t had to make the changes of, ‘Oh, my ball’s doing something different today. How do I control it?’ It’s been throwing the same way every day, every time in the same movement. I think that’s been the difference-maker.”
Gray also said not making the adjustments from home to road and back because of altitude has been a good difference this season as well.
“Going road to home, home to road, there was always a little quick fix you had to do with some of your pitches or where you start things,” Gray said. “That was always fine to do, but just not worrying about that any more and getting the same practice every day has been a big help.”
The 30-year-old right-hander, selected by the Rockies with the third overall pick in the 2013 MLB draft, said that he got to reminisce in Denver a little before heading to Coors Field.
“We drove by some old places that we use to go eat,” Gray said. “We walked around the park and went to our old house. My wife and I just walked around a lot of old places we used to go. We just wanted to see it one last time and see if anything had changed and just pretend like it was just another day.”