Jon Gray made his first appearance at Isotopes Park since 2015 on Saturday night.
It will likely be one and done.
Gray, making what was likely the final start of a rehabilitation assignment from the Colorado Rockies, allowed one run in five innings in the Albuquerque Isotopes’ 13-10 loss to the El Paso Chihuahuas in 14 innings.
“If they’re ready to bring me (up), I’m ready,” Gray said with a smile. “Everything’s feeling great. I can definitely go out there and compete to win.”
It was the second rehab start with the Isotopes for Gray and third overall. He went on the disabled list back on April 14 with a fracture in his left foot.
“I even got to test (the foot) a little bit, I had to cover first on one (play),” Gray said. “I had no problems. Everything felt right.”
Gray gave up five hits and four walks while striking out six. He threw 57 of 94 pitches for strikes.
“I feel like I can throw everything for a strike, which is a good thing,” Gray said. “I wish I could have thrown my slider a little bit better late in the game today. I felt like I threw some pretty good ones that I didn’t get them to swing at. I’ve just got to be more aggressive and go in the zone more with my fastball. Other than that, it was pretty good.”
Gray threw mostly fastballs early in the game but then went with more breaking balls later on. His velocity was fine, with the stadium gun ranging from 94 to 96 with a high of 97, though it is usually 2-3 mph slow.
“I even got to work with my changeup,” Gray said. “I haven’t thrown a lot lately. I threw three or four tonight and got a couple outs on it, which is always a good thing. Other than that, I just tried to stick with my game plan and do what I do.”
That game plan probably did not include Gray dancing his way out of trouble more than once.
In the third, Gray gave up a one-out double to opposing pitcher Tyrell Jenkins, then a two-out single to Jose Rondon and finally walked Ryan Schimpf. Gray was able to recover and get slugger Jabari Blash to pop up harmlessly to second baseman Ryan McMahon.
In the fourth, Gray surrendered a two-out double to Tony Cruz and an RBI triple to Dusty Coleman. This time Gray got Jenkins to swing at a high fastball to strand Coleman.
In the fifth, Gray gave up a leadoff double to Ortega and then walked Schimpf and Blash back-to-back with one out. He fell behind 2-0 to Diego Goris before the Chihuahuas’ first baseman hit a chopper up the middle that McMahon fielded easily to start a 4-3 double play.
Overall, Gray was just happy to be back out on the mound after such a long layoff.
“Even when I’m not playing, I feel like I can be useful talking to the other pitchers about certain guys, certain hitters and what their options are there,” Gray said. “I was kind of given a lot of confidence and being a good guy. I think it’s just bringing good energy.”
As for the rest of the game, it was a back-and-forth affair. The game was tied 5-5 in the seventh, 6-6 in the ninth and 7-7 in the 11th. The Isotopes finally ran out of pitchers and had to use outfielders Domonic Brown and Rosell Herrera on the mound in the 14th. They gave up the final six runs.
Jordan Patterson hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the frame to account for the final score. The game time of 5 hours, 35 minutes was a new team record.
In a bizarre moment back in the Albuquerque half of the ninth, Derrik Gibson walked up to pinch hit with two outs and the bases loaded, only to be called back by manager Glenallen Hill. As reliever Matt Carasiti stayed in and struck out on three pitches, Gibson and Hill engaged in a heated shouting match in the dugout which resulted in Gibson being ordered back to the clubhouse.
The Isotopes will still try to win the series Sunday night at 6:05. Albuquerque will start lefty Harrison Musgrave (2-1, 6.75 ERA) against former Isotopes right-hander Zach Lee (1-1, 5.32).