PHOENIX -- Not that anyone cheers for a prodigious talent to struggle, but it's inevitable and teams use it for teaching. Call Thursday a teachable moment for Rockies 2013 top Draft pick Jon Gray, a right-hander from Oklahoma.
Gray entered in the fifth inning of the 10-5 loss to the Athletics and excited the TV audience by hitting 99 mph during a solid inning. But he gave up a run the following inning and two more the next before being removed. Pitches that resulted in Coco Crisp's double and Josh Donaldson's RBI single in the sixth, and several hits the following inning, were left in sweet locations for the swinging bats.
In all, Gray, the team's No. 1 prospect, gave up five hits and three runs, with a walk and a strikeout in 2 2/3 innings.
"That's not the worst thing in the world," manager Walt Weiss said. "The ball looked like it was coming out of [his] hand real good, like it usually does. Typically it's balls you get in the middle of the plate. Whether it be off-speed pitches or fastballs in the middle of the plate, they get hit up here."
Gray has a 5.40 ERA in 6 2/3 innings of Cactus League play. The Rockies think highly of Gray, who made nine Minor League starts at Rookie-level Grand Junction and Class A Modesto, and was 4-0 with a 1.93 ERA with 51 strikeouts in 37 1/3 innings.