Gray has 'awesome' live BP session

Rockies' No. 2 prospect may make Minors rehab start Friday

Gray has 'awesome' live BP session

PHOENIX -- For a guy who was just going to participate in pregame ceremonies, Rockies rookie right-hander Jon Gray -- on the disabled list with an abdominal injury -- was excited Monday. Gray, though, was glowing in how he felt that morning in a 55-pitch live batting practice session at the Rockies' training center in Scottsdale, Ariz.

"It was real good," Gray said, breaking into a wait-'til-you-see-me smile. "The ball was coming out of my hand better than it had all spring. It was awesome. I'm so excited today. I really am."

Gray's last Spring Training outing was March 22, but the quick recovery of the muscle has allowed him to keep up his throwing. Based on Gray's excitement over the session, which included three "innings" of 25, 15 and 15 pitches, he will pitch in a Minor League rehab game Friday. Triple-A Albuquerque will play at Tacoma on Friday, which is his likely destination, although he said the Rockies will check the weather before making a decision. Making an extended spring training start is on the table, but Gray said the Rockies want him to face higher quality hitters.

The Rockies are planning on righty Christian Bergman, a long reliever by trade, to start April 14 at home against the Giants -- the first time they need a fifth starter. Gray said the way he's feeling, he might not need to make more than one rehab start, which theoretically means he could be in play for that game.

Ranked as the Rockies' No. 2 prospect by, Gray is especially happy that he corrected the mechanical flaw may have led to the injury -- opening up the front side too soon. Suddenly his new curveball, which he pocketed because he couldn't make it do what he wanted during his Spring Training outings, works.

"I threw it today and it was really good, best I've thrown it in a long time," Gray said. "Based on how I threw it today, it's a pitch I can use in the game and it's going to work out very well."

Worth noting

• Righty reliever Jason Motte, who suffered right shoulder soreness March 24 and was shut down after a rough throwing session a couple of days later, said he was beginning strengthening exercises Monday. He isn't sure when he'll be cleared to throw and wants to make sure there are no setbacks.

• Utility infielder Daniel Descalso, out with a fracture in his left hand, will be with the club through the home opener, then will return to Scottsdale to visit with a doctor. If cleared, he'll start strengthening exercises before moving to baseball activities. Descalso had stayed in condition by throwing, running and strengthening.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.