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Rangers Starter Jon Gray Still Perfecting His Slider

Rangers Starter Jon Gray Still Perfecting His Slider

Texas Rangers starter Jon Gray took the mound in the opening game of a three-game set Monday against the Baltimore Orioles. Coming into the day Gray felt excited about the first start of the year, though he said last week hasn’t perfected his slider yet. In Spring Training, Gray said he was working on a shorter slider and his sweeping slider. While Gray had four spring starts, he said figuring out both sliders is still a work in progress.

“I think it’ll be something I’ll find in my first start or two,” Gray said. “It might be a pain to figure out which one I need to rely on that more. Once I figure that out, I think things will be better.”

Gray said he relied on his slider a lot last season but felt since he’s added a variation that, even the sweeping slider feels differently.

“Maybe it’s because I’m mixing the two, and they’re such different pitches that are kind of morphing into one. But if that’s the case, I’ll find a way to make that work too,” Gray said.

In Monday’s start, Gray struck out a couple of Orioles using the slider, but Baltimore’s Jorge Mateo homered off one that left too much of the plate. It was one of two runs Gray allowed in his six innings of work.

Heading into Opening Day, Gray said there’s a different feeling in the clubhouse, and he felt more excited than in previous seasons.

“It feels a little different because I think what we have in front of us and what we’re surrounded by just feels different,” Gray said. “So it’s a place where you want to be, so I’m just happy to be in that spot. For so many years, I just feel grateful. Even if it adds pressure, it’s still great.”

Last season, Gray hit the injured list three separate times, leading to 24 starts, the lowest in a full season since 2017. However, his 1.13 WHIP was the lowest in his eight-year Major League career, along with a .222 batting average.

If Gray can master both sliders and throw both in any count, it creates another weapon in a top-tier rotation. The Rangers have Jon Gray slated to start Sunday in Chicago against the Cubs to close out the three-game series.

Credentialed Media Staff Writer covering the Texas Rangers for Dallas Sports Fanatic | 2014 University of North Texas graduate with a Bachelor's in Radio, Television, and Film. I talk about things. Find me on the tweeter @aplinckTX

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