ATLANTA -- After throwing five solid innings in Monday's 5-1 win over the Braves to close out Spring Training for the Yankees, right-hander Sonny Gray said he feels this has been the best spring of his career.
"Kind of getting some things ironed out early and the last two outings really putting it all together, and I feel good with my breaking ball, I feel good with my fastball," Gray said.
The 28-year-old didn't walk a batter Monday, giving up just one run on three hits with seven strikeouts.
"I thought he worked quick, pounded the zone," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "That was a really nice outing for him."
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It was Gray's first Spring Training with the Yankees after joining them at last year's Trade Deadline. He finished 2-0 with a 1.98 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings across four starts.
"Being around the guys all spring and just being here for a whole spring. ... I feel way more comfortable and ready to go," he said.
Gray, who started three consecutive Opening Days for the Athletics (2014-16), said he wasn't concerned with where he fits into New York's starting rotation.
"I have high expectations for myself every year and every outing and every game," he said. "So I don't think that where your starting the season, what game you're pitching or this and that, I have extremely high expectations for myself and whenever it is I go out there and throw, I expect to be great."
Walks set up two-run jacks
Didi Gregorius and Giancarlo Stanton hit two-run homers off Braves righty Brandon McCarthy, and both blasts came after walks.
Gregorius homered to right after Stanton drew a two-out walk in the top of the first, his club-high-tying fifth home run of the spring. Gregorius finished Grapefruit League play with a .283 average.
Stanton's third inning shot to left field was projected by Statcast™ at 434 feet with a 114 mph exit velocity. His homer followed Aaron Judge's one-out walk.
"We're going to hit the ball out of the ballpark," Boone said. "For us it's about controlling the strike zone, and it's something we've beat the drum on over and over again, and we can get guys on base, we're going to run into our share of balls, so I just want these guys hyperfocused and obsessed with controlling the strike zone. If they do that, we're going to be a special offensive club."
The energy in the Yankees' clubhouse after the final out of the spring was infectious, with enthusiastic high-fives and congratulations all around.
For a manager embarking on his first season at the helm of a storied franchise, Boone said he wasn't surprised by the scene and believes his squad is focused and determined heading into the season.
"There's no doubt in my mind the hunger of this group and the understanding of the opportunity in front of them," Boone said. "And that's from the leadership from those guys in that room, that they understand there's a special opportunity in front of them and absolutely, that makes the hair on your neck stand up when you see that, when you see that they're ready to go and hooked up, and it means a lot."
Luis Severino will be making the first Opening Day start of his career Thursday, coming off a campaign in which he finished third in American League Cy Young Award voting. He was 0-1 with a 4.97 ERA in two starts against the Blue Jays last season. Left-hander Ian Happ takes the mound for Toronto. He faced New York twice last season and allowed two runs in 11 2/3 innings. First pitch is scheduled for 3:37 p.m. ET, live on MLB.TV.