'Happy' to be a Rockie, Gray shuts down SD

July 31st, 2021

SAN DIEGO -- Before Friday’s 2 p.m. MT Trade Deadline, it was not a guarantee that would make his scheduled start against the Padres.

Gray, who told reporters on Thursday that he wanted to play for the Rockies beyond 2021, stayed put -- alongside Trevor Story -- once the Deadline hit and the dust settled following a frenzy of deals across the Majors.

Stepping on to the mound at Petco Park still donning a Rockies jersey, Gray allowed two runs over 6 1/3 innings in Colorado's 9-4 victory over San Diego. Gray kept the Padres scoreless through his first five frames, but surrendered a two-run home run to Manny Machado in the sixth and had his night end after walking back-to-back batters with one out in the seventh.

Gray, a free agent at the end of the season, said staying with the Rockies past the Deadline was a relaxing feeling.

“I was very pleased with it,” Gray said. “I'm happy that I get to throw on purple and it just fired me up for the game. It was a good day.”

After Rockies manager Bud Black removed Gray from the game, Tyler Kinley retired the next two batters to escape the seventh inning unharmed.

Black said he was impressed with the way Gray blocked out trade speculation and gave the Rockies a quality outing.

"I didn't speak to Jon today about anything that might have transpired the last three or four days with all the gossip and some of the rumors,” Black said. “He didn't let that affect him. I think that he was in a good spot today mentally and physically.

“Like I've said before, I think that Jon has investment in this organization. He let the last couple of weeks of all the noise not affect him tonight. He went out and played professional baseball and did his job as a starting pitcher. Very proud of him in that regard.”

On a night in which he tied a season high in pitches (106, 70 strikes), Gray worked efficiently through the Padres' order over his first five innings.

The right-hander allowed a one-out single in the first inning to Fernando Tatis Jr., but followed that up by allowing just two Padres to reach base through his next four frames. Gray ran into trouble in the sixth with a two-out walk to Ha-Seong Kim that led to Machado’s homer in the following at-bat.

Black said Gray appeared to fatigue in the latter innings, though he still threw quality pitches.

“[He] might have tired just a touch at the end, but I still thought his stuff was good,” Black said. “If you lose stuff, the thing that goes next is your command of the ball. I thought he threw some close pitches there in the sixth and the seventh. There's a couple walks in there, but I thought overall Jon threw the ball well.”

Gray, the Rockies' 3rd overall pick in the 2013 Draft, has spent his entire career in purple -- and now that the Deadline has passed, the 29-year-old is looking forward to the future.

“All the things I see in the future for our team, it's still there and I'm still shooting for it,” Gray said. “I'm really fired up and I can't wait for the future. It's good.”