Sonny Gray has not yet made an appearance for the Cincinnati Reds in spring training. The right-handed pitcher was acquired from the New York Yankees in the offseason. And a part of that trade was a window that allowed the Reds to sign Gray to an extension for three more seasons, with an option year for a fourth season. But the spring didn’t start out on the right foot. His elbow didn’t feel right and he was shut down for a little bit. Since then he’s thrown some side sessions.
And then there was earlier today when he faced live hitters for the first time. While the Reds are off today, Sonny Gray and the minor leaguers were not.
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) March 5, 2019
The next step would seem to be that Sonny Gray will take the mound in a game. That’s what he would like to have happen, but it’s unknown when that will actually happen.
Speaking of Sonny Gray, there’s a piece out today that give plenty of hope that his 2018 season was a blip on the radar. And that his 2019 season could be a lot different. Eno Sarris looks into Gray over at The Athletic (subscription required) this morning. There’s a whole lot to the article that dives into his pitch selection, and why some of them worked, didn’t work, and what he’s looking to do moving forward. It also dives into some of the help he’s gotten from coaches Derek Johnson and Caleb Cotham.
Coach Johnson hasn’t banned the slider yet, but he did once before. When Johnson coached Gray at Vanderbilt, he told him not to throw the slider because it would change his curveball. Guess what happened to Gray’s curveball last year.
It’s going to be a real interesting look to see how much different Sonny Gray is in 2019 compared to 2018. The Yankees have a rather specific pitching philosophy for their guys. And they changed up a lot of what Gray had previously done, and took away one of his strengths in the process. The Reds are banking on getting him back to what he was before he joined New York. It seems they’ve got a plan. Hopefully they can execute it.