FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — Sonny Gray needed a few more steps than normal to get through his first spring training with his new team.
Once the right-handed veteran arrived, Gray found he was exactly where he wanted to be. The newly acquired starting pitcher practiced with the Minnesota Twins for the first time on Tuesday after passing his physical.
The Twins got Gray on Sunday in a trade with the Cincinnati Reds, who disbanded their roster. Meanwhile, the suddenly coasting Twins indicated they would 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,” Gray said. “It’s kind of where I’m at in my career, and that’s exactly what really matters 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 receiver Mitch Garver to the Texas Rangers for shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa, then traded him and third baseman Josh Donaldson to the New York Yankees in a deal that has allowed receiver Gary Sánchez and infielder Gio Urshela.
But the Twins probably aren’t done yet.
President of baseball operations Derek Falvey said his club regained financial flexibility after the Yankees agreed to the remaining $50 million in Donaldson’s contract. Falvey said he expects to use the money to fill needs in the rotation, the bullpen and at shortstop. The Twins have reportedly expressed interest in free agent shortstop Trevor Story and have also engaged the Oakland Athletics in trade talks.
“Hopefully we’re in a better position, not just from a roster perspective, but how we plan for the future and the flexibility that creates for conversations later,” Falvey said. “We’re going to have to roll with the hits a bit and figure out what we can add over the next few weeks.”
Gray and his family were heading to the airport to fly to Arizona for the Reds’ spring training on Sunday when Cincinnati general manager Nick Krall called to break the news of the trade. Suddenly, Gray realized he was heading to Florida instead and returned home to regroup.
“We just tried to do it with a few deep breaths and lots of smiles and make the process and make the transition as easy as possible,” Gray said.
The Twins wanted to ease the entry of the two-time All-Star 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, but Gray joined his teammates on the field for pitching practice. Afterwards, Gray signed autographs and posed for photos with fans. Gray will kick off his first bullpen Thursday and hopes to work out a plan soon with the Twins coaches to prepare his arm for the season, which opens April 7.
“He was on the pitch and involved in everything,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “We’re going to have him dial in and really talk about his offseason and where he comes from at camp. He’s an elite guy, as a pitcher and as the person to join our group in our clubhouse. You couldn’t ask for anything more from an addition.
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