Gray to return next weekend vs. D-backs

June 25th, 2017
Jon Gray struck out six and threw 94 pitches for Triple-A Albuquerque on Saturday. (Albuquerque Isotopes)

LOS ANGELES -- Pleased with his pitches and his health, right-hander will return to the Rockies' rotation for next weekend's series at Arizona.

Gray, who set a Rockies rookie record with 185 strikeouts last season and started this year's season opener, hasn't pitched since suffering a navicular stress fracture of his left foot on April 13 at San Francisco. Gray made three rehab starts, including Saturday for Triple-A Albuquerque at home against El Paso. Gray gave up one run and struck out six, but he walked four in five innings while throwing 95 pitches.

"My endurance was like night and day, and I got outs with all my pitches; it was a really good start," said Gray (0-0, 4.38 ERA before the injury), who said he's planning on starting Friday night's series opener, although manager Bud Black has not made a formal announcement.

Black was pleased with everything except the walks.

Gray checked out healthy, but elevated walks on Saturday, the same night that the Rockies' walked eight in 3 1/3 innings in a 4-0 loss to the Dodgers, struck Black the wrong way.

"I liked the stamina, I liked the endurance, I liked the stuff," Black said. "I liked the sharpness that I heard in the first couple of innings, but then it sort of wavered a little bit as he got deeper into the game. But that's understandable. He used all his pitches.

"He threw 95 pitches, battled out of a couple tough innings. But I'm not happy with the four walks. We've got to do something about that. I'm not a big walk guy, so we'll address that."