GLENDALE, Ariz. — Sonny Gray pitched three innings in his first start of the spring and then was named Oakland’s opening day starter after the Athletics hammered the Chicago White Sox 12-3 Wednesday.
Oakland manager Bob Melvin said postgame the right-hander will pitch the opener April 4 against the White Sox, likely against fellow All-Star Chris Sale.
“You look up opening day starter in the dictionary and there’s a picture of Sonny Gray,” Melvin said. “And he’s been that way for us since he’s gotten here.”
Gray gave up three hits and a run while striking out four. Meanwhile, A’s batters pounded Chicago pitching for 19 hits and scored in every inning but the eighth.
Josh Reddick drove in two runs with a triple, Sam Fuld and Jake Smolinski had three hits apiece and Andrew Lambo and Matt Chapman homered for the A’s.
Gray wasn’t completely satisfied despite his mostly good performance.
“I threw a lot of fastballs. I wasn’t locating as good as I’d like to. My curveball wasn’t good,” he said.
After leaving the game, Gray said he threw about 10 more pitches in the bullpen.
“We were simulating a couple more hitters and just trying to work on more stuff,” he said.
Melvin liked what he saw.
“Sometimes in a first start there’s a little jumpiness for a guy like him, but he was really good,” the manager said.
Felix Doubront relieved Gray and went three innings — he struck out six and gave up just one hit with no walks. Melvin said the lefty is definitely being considered for a rotation spot.
“Really good curveball today, the best I’ve seen as far as touch from him,” Melvin said. “I think the conditioning that he did in the offseason has really helped him.”
A’s closer Sean Doolittle, coming off an injury-plagued 2015 season, struck out the side in the seventh. Oakland pitchers finished with 14 strikeouts on Wednesday.