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Rockies top pitching prospect Jon Gray shut down due to shoulder fatigue

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Right-handed pitcher Jon Gray will be shut down from the Texas League playoffs, and will not be a September call up for the Rockies after experiencing shoulder fatigue.

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

The Rockies have shut down Jon Gray from pitching in the first round of the Texas League playoffs and possibly for the rest of the season. Selected with the No. 3 overall pick by Colorado in the first round of the 2013 draft, Jon Gray has battled shoulder tightness over his last few starts.

The official news was confirmed by Denver Post beat writer Patrick Saunders in an interview with the Oklahoma native.

"I do have some shoulder fatigue, but I knew it wouldn't feel as strong now as it did back in spring training. I knew it would kind of wear down a little. But after having a few days off, it feels really good again. I'm still throwing some bullpens."

Fortunately it appears the shoulder pain isn't serious and the news was confirmed by trainer Keith Duggar, who stated in the Saunders article that the move was precautionary and that a MRI showed no structural damage to the shoulder.

Dan O'Dowd revealed to our own Drew Creasman, in a Purple Row exclusive interview, that Gray could be shut down for the rest of the season and was battling fatigue linked to playing his first full season of professional baseball.

"You know, starting every five days, it was a big level jump that he had, all the emotions of last year ... it's everything. He's come a long way in a lot of areas -- not just from a baseball standpoint, but just a life standpoint, too."

Fellow first rounder Mark Appel dealt with similar issues at the beginning of the season, of learning how to pitch every five days instead of having a week off to rest between starts. Appel was eventually sent back to extended Spring Training by the Houston Astros after a dismal first half when he produced a 9.74 ERA in class High-A, he has since returned and been promoted to Double-A where he's flourished, showing off a 3.69 ERA.

Jon Gray shot to the top of the prospect charts after being drafted out of Oklahoma and producing eye-popping numbers in the minor leagues for 2013. He earned the No. 12 overall prospect ranking by Baseball America after a combined ERA of 1.93 in nine starts. This season has been more of a mixed bag in Double-A Tulsa, with a 3.91 ERA in 24 starts, while still maintaining nearly a strikeout per inning.

Saunders claims there's still a chance Gray could return for the Texas League playoffs, but the Rockies would not promote him for a September call up.