Sonny Gray quickly tries to get settled in with Twins
FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — Sonny Gray needed a few more steps than normal to get through his first workout of spring training with his new team.
Once the veteran right-hander got there, Gray discovered he’s just where he wants to be. The newly acquired starting pitcher worked out with the Minnesota Twins for the first time Tuesday after passing his physical exam.
The Twins got Gray on Sunday in a trade with the Cincinnati Reds, who have been dismantling their roster. Meanwhile, the suddenly free-wheeling Twins have indicated they’ll make more moves after adding Gray, who went 7-9 with 155 strikeouts and a 4.19 ERA in 135 1/3 innings in 2021.
“The Twins seem to be pushing more chips in,” Gray said. “That’s kind of where I’m at in my career, and that’s just what it’s all really about to me is winning. I want to win.”
Gray was involved in the second of three trades the Twins made Saturday and Sunday. The Twins traded catcher Mitch Garver to the Texas Rangers for shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa and then flipped him along with third baseman Josh Donaldson to the New York Yankees in a deal that netted catcher Gary Sánchez and infielder Gio Urshela.
But the Twins likely aren’t done yet.
President of baseball operations Derek Falvey said his club has newfound financial flexibility after the Yankees took on the remaining $50 million on Donaldson’s contract. Falvey said he expects to use that money to fill needs in the rotation, the bullpen and at shortstop. The Twins reportedly have expressed interest in free agent shortstop Trevor Story and have engaged the Oakland Athletics in trade talks as well.
“I hope we’re in a better spot, not just from a roster standpoint, but how we plan going forward and the flexibility it creates for subsequent conversations,” Falvey said. “We’re going to have to roll with the punches a little bit and figure out what we can add over the next few weeks.”
Gray and his family were headed to the airport to fly to Arizona for Reds spring training on Sunday when Cincinnati general manager Nick Krall called with the news of the trade. Suddenly, Gray realized he was headed to Florida instead and went home to regroup.
“We just tried to do it with some deep breaths and a lot of smiles and make the process and make the transition as easy as possible,” Gray said.
The Twins wanted to ease the two-time All-Star in after he and his family arrived Tuesday, but the pitcher pushed for more.
Not only did he participate in photo day and take his physical, Gray joined teammates on the field for pitchers fielding practice. Afterward, Gray signed autographs and posed for pictures with fans. Gray will throw his first bullpen session Thursday and hopes to establish a plan soon with Twins coaches to prepare his arm for the season, which opens on April 7.
“He was out there on the field taking part in everything,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “We’re going to get him dialed in and really talk about his offseason and where he’s coming into camp. This is an elite guy, as a pitcher and as a person to join our group in our clubhouse. You couldn’t ask for anything more from an addition.”
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