Gray to make first start vs. Rockies Sunday

July 22nd, 2021

LOS ANGELES -- Right-hander made his Major League debut on Tuesday against the Giants. He’ll be making his first career start on Sunday against the Rockies.

Manager Dave Roberts confirmed that Gray will be inserted into the starting rotation, at least until Clayton Kershaw returns from the injured list or until the Dodgers make a move to bolster their rotation before the Trade Deadline.

Gray allowed four runs and struck out seven over four innings in his debut on Tuesday and showed plenty of promise. The organization’s top pitching prospect per MLB Pipeline recorded 15 swings and misses, and the seven punchouts were the most by a Dodgers pitcher making his debut since José De León had nine in 2016.

“I thought the secondary stuff was really good,” Roberts said. “He’s got an elite fastball, but [on Tuesday] the slider versus right, versus left, the breaking ball, he located that really well and got a lot of swing and miss. Really good.”

Gray had plenty of friends and family in attendance at Dodger Stadium and admitted to having some butterflies throughout his outing. There was also a bit of an adjustment to his routine, as he was coming in behind an opener rather than starting, which is what he’s most accustomed to doing. Other than that, Gray showed why he’s such a highly touted prospect.

“That was a lot of fun,” Gray said of his debut. “I tried to keep it simple and just go out there and get guys out and obviously try to provide the team with some length and some stability with the arms going out there.”

Moving forward, Gray will be able to provide the Dodgers with stability in the starting rotation, something they desperately need. With Kershaw sidelined until August and the uncertainty surrounding Trevor Bauer as Major League Baseball continues its investigation into sexual assault allegations, the Dodgers have been shorthanded in the rotation over the last few weeks.

Gray would’ve likely been in the rotation earlier this season, but a right shoulder impingement sidelined him for two months. He says he’s fully healthy now and even stronger than he was before the injury.

“I definitely felt like if I was healthy at the right moment, I definitely would’ve gotten a shot earlier,” Gray said. “It obviously isn’t a great feeling to feel like you would be able to help the team earlier in the season and you weren’t able to, but I’m grateful that I’m here now and able to help this team in the best way I can now.”

Right now, the best way he can help the team is by joining a rotation that features Walker Buehler, Julio Urías, Tony Gonsolin and David Price.

Potential rehab assignment for Seager
The Dodgers were hoping that star shortstop would be able to return during the current four-game series against the Giants, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. Instead, Roberts said the Dodgers are “talking through” the possibility of Seager going on a rehab assignment.

That wasn’t part of the plan a couple of weeks ago, but Seager hasn’t progressed quite as well as the Dodgers would’ve liked. Roberts said he’s still “waiting for the green light” to activate Seager. There are still a number of things he needs to check off.

The Dodgers want to make sure Seager is timed up at the plate before activating him, and they certainly want to make sure his hand feels healthy enough to play every day. With Gavin Lux on the injured list for a while, the Dodgers will lean on Seager heavily whenever he finally gets activated.