GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Things are looking a little sunnier for Sonny Gray.
The Reds right-hander is scheduled to throw his next bullpen session on Thursday, manager David Bell said Tuesday morning, putting Gray one step closer to making his spring debut for Cincinnati.
Gray was scratched from his start Saturday with right elbow stiffness, though he threw on flat ground the following day. The pitcher said his side session was “tentatively” set for Thursday, though it might be pushed to Friday or Saturday if they decide to take an extra day or two as a precaution.
“It can be frustrating when little things pop up, but it’s important to get things knocked out as early as possible,” Gray said. “It can be frustrating as a player because you want to be out there and be involved, but it’s smart to realize that you have to step back and look at the larger picture.
“As a player, that’s hard to do. I don’t think anyone was extremely worried about it, but if you can take some time here, why not take it? That’s what we did.”
Gray was all smiles as he talked with teammates and prepared for his daily workout, something Bell has taken note of this spring, Gray’s first with the Reds.
“Walking by him, he’s got a smile on his face,” Bell said. “He didn’t have a smile on his face one day when he was pretty concerned, but every day since then, it’s come back. You can tell by looking at his face that his arm is feeling better.”
Gray was acquired by the Reds in a trade with the Yankees last month, giving Cincinnati a proven starter to add to its rotation. Although Gray had his share of struggles in New York, the Reds believe he can be a front-line starter again, as he was during his years pitching for the Athletics.
Bell and Gray both said no date has been determined for the righty to make his first spring start, but the fact that he’s slated to throw off a mound in the coming days means game action could follow soon thereafter.
“That’s just part of the progression of building him back to get in him into a game,” Bell said. “If he’s throwing a side, that’s a great step. I talked to him yesterday, and he’s feeling very positive. It’s just gotten better each day.”