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Gray to return next weekend vs. D-backs

MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

LOS ANGELES -- Pleased with his pitches and his health, right-hander Jon Gray 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.

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LOS ANGELES -- Pleased with his pitches and his health, right-hander Jon Gray 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.

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"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' Tyler Chatwood 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."

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and like his Facebook page.

Colorado Rockies, Jon Gray