SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Saturday was painful for Rockies top prospect Jon Gray in more ways than one.
Not only did the right-handed Gray, the team's top Draft pick in 2013, manage just two outs during a seven-run (six earned) first inning against the Cubs, but he experienced pain in his right groin. Gray insisted Sunday that the soreness will not affect his next scheduled start. He needs to erase the hurt from his performance at a time when it seemed logical to pencil him in as the No. 2 starter.
There was some bad luck. Charlie Culberson booted a grounder early, and a pickoff throw by catcher Michael McKenry hit a runner. But Gray flubbed two bunt plays and displayed poor location.
"I just let the game get to me," Gray, No. 17 among MLB.com's Top 100 Prospects and No. 1 for the Rockies, said. "We just had a couple of bad things happen, consecutively, and that shouldn't get to me. I should stay in there, get out and help the team. It was just starting out with a bad vibe, and nobody wants to play behind that."
Suddenly, Gray is staring at a 5.93 spring ERA and trying to prove he is ready.
"If I pitch the way I can, I'm definitely ready, but there are still things I have to learn," Gray said. "It's far from perfection. There are obviously going to be things I pick up as I go, but there is a lot of stuff I need to work on as well.
"[Such as] not letting anything like that happen, being able to get out of things and help my teammates get out of an inning. It can't drag on like that. I never did anything to help us get out of that."