After haircut, Rockies' Gray locked in with 3 good innings
By CARRIE MUSKAT
MESA, Ariz. (AP) Colorado Rockies pitcher Jon Gray surprised his wife by getting his hair cut in a Mohawk style.
After Friday's efficient outing, the right-hander will likely keep it trimmed.
Gray retired all nine Oakland Athletics batters he faced on 30 pitches at Hohokam Stadium in his second spring start. He struck out three.
"It felt efficient, it felt like I was getting strike one, attacking the zone, not picking around the zone so much," Gray said. "I was just going after guys and throwing every pitch for strikes. My defense was great behind me and saved a couple hits. It made it really clean."
Gray has been the Rockies' opening day starter the past two years and wouldn't mind getting the call this season when Colorado opens against the Miami Marlins on March 28. He went 12-9 with a 5.12 ERA in 31 starts last year. Rockies manager Bud Black may consider Kyle Freeland (17-7, 2.85 ERA) or German Marquez (14-11, 3.77 ERA) as well.
"I would love to (start opening day) but we've got a really good group of guys," Gray said. "After the years Freeland and Marquez had last year, I'm hoping everybody brings their `A' game this year and I know we'll finish well in the end."
It worked last season as the Rockies reached the postseason for the second consecutive year, securing a wild-card berth. The Rockies beat the Chicago Cubs in the wild-card game, but lost to the Milwaukee Brewers in the Division Series.
Gray said the Rockies are motivated this season.
"It's an unspoken thing," he said. "It's what all of us expect and probably what we expect of each other. I don't have to be like, `Hey, I wonder if everyone is thinking the same thing I am this year' because we're right there. That's all we've been thinking about the whole offseason. It's that time of the year, we're excited to play, get out there and see what we've got."
So, what about his hair? Gray usually has long, blonde hair sticking out from under his cap. In 2017, he had eight inches cut to donate to "Locks of Love", a public nonprofit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children who have medical long-term hair loss.
This time, Gray's hair wasn't long enough to donate, but it was long enough to force him to get a trim a few days ago. However, that wasn't good enough.
"It didn't look the way I thought it would so I said, `You know what, let's go get another one,'" Gray said. "Let's take it a little bit shorter, we'll do a mohawk and let it ride out a little bit. Sure enough, today I had a good game so it's going to stay, it's going to stay for a little bit."
NOTES: Manager Bud Black was not with the team but in San Diego to be with his daughter for the arrival of his first grandchild. Bench coach Mike Redmond was the acting manager against the Athletics.
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Updated March 1, 2019