Fired-up Gray pleased with first start of spring

Fired-up Gray pleased with first start of spring

MESA, Ariz. -- Sonny Gray was ready for his first spring start Tuesday. Maybe even too ready.

"I was definitely excited; there's no doubt about it," said the A's likely Opening Day starter. "I think that's kind of why I threw a little simulated game last week, because Bob [Melvin] and Curt [Young] know I get really excited out there. And that's another thing, I gotta learn how to slow down again and execute pitches instead of being a crazy bull out there."

The crazy bull unleashed spotty command of his pitches, allowing two runs on five hits in 2 1/3 innings against the D-backs in a 6-5 win on Tuesday. But "his stuff was really good," said Melvin.

"The command may not be the best we're used to seeing it, but for me, he threw some crisp curveballs, some good sliders, good life on his fastball, so all good," he continued. "I'm just looking for life. He gets pretty excited that first time out there, and it's more about seeing the action on his pitches, and all of them were good for me."

Gray particularly struggled to spot his sinker, routinely missing low and starting it where he needed to finish it, finding himself behind in counts as a result. Against Yasmany Tomas in the second inning, he stumbled to 3-0, unleashing a fastball that the Cuban slugger smashed to right field.

But he finished on a strong note, striking out Mark Trumbo for a second time. That was good enough for Gray, who was pitching in front of his infant son. Gunnar made it out to Hohokam Stadium for his first baseball game -- making Gray even more excitable.

"Just next time, I'm probably going to need to take a deep breath," he said, "and slow down and just work on making a few more pitches."

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.