Q&A with Jeff Gray

Right-hander Jeff Gray is hoping to factor into the Cubs' bullpen plans in 2010. Gray was acquired along with minor league pitcher Ronny Morla and outfielder Matt Spencer from Oakland last month for INF Aaron Miles and Jake Fox.

Gray, 28, spent time with Oakland and Class AAA Sacramento in 2009. In 24 appearances with Oakland (mostly in the second half of the season), he was 0-1 with a 3.76 ERA and 19 strikeouts to four walks in 26 1/3 innings. He pitched in 37 games with Sacramento, posting a 1.54 ERA to go with 16 saves and 22 strikeouts to six walks in 41 innings.

* * *

Q: Did you have a good understanding of what your role was with the A's last year?

A: The role that I had with Oakland was just whenever they needed me to go get outs, that was my job. If it was the fourth inning, I was ready, and if it was the eighth inning, I was ready. The whole point of it was getting outs and I think I'm ready for any role the Cubs are looking for me to be a part of. We'll just have to see; I don't know exactly what they're looking to put me in, but I can do a little of everything. I'm pretty excited to help them out.

Q: In your own words, describe your repertoire. Have you developed a swing-and-miss pitch? I know that was one of the things you were looking to develop last year (2008) in the Fall League.

A: I throw a four-seamer, a sinker, a slider, a changeup and a curveball. I was really trying to work on – my slider wasn't as sharp as it probably should be and that's what I was working on last year. This past year, it really showed that that was probably my swing-and-miss pitch along with my sinker. It's coming along and keeps getting better every time I go out and try and use it.

Q: I understand you made some mechanical adjustments that have helped your cause a little. Can you go into that and talk about what you've cleaned up?

A: (A's bullpen coach) Ron Romanick and (pitching coach) Curt Young kind of tweaked my mechanics to lower my arm slot to get a little more deception. Between the two years -- last year and the year before -- I saw a big change. I'd never really thought it that big of a difference but that really helped me get to where I'm at now and hopefully it stays with me and keeps progressing.

Q: Is there a way to prepare for the different style of game play in the National League versus what you're accustomed to seeing in the American League?

A: We're going to have to find out. All I've seen is through spring training stuff. I think it's all more along the lines of how the game is played. It's a little different; probably a little more bunts and more strategy than with the American League, (which is) just going out hitting the ball and trying to score as many runs as possible. I'm looking forward to playing both sides and seeing how the game is different. That's going to be a lot of learning on my side, but hopefully I pick it up quickly.

Q: How has this off-season been for you in terms of rest with the trade?

A: It's been a really relaxing off-season. I've been able to hang out with some family and friends and do some things I haven't been able to do for a while like play golf. With this trade, it's gotten me really excited with getting going with spring training.

Q: Growing up in Missouri, one would imagine you knew something about the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry. How much do you know about the Cubs' organization now?

A: I was always a Cardinals fan growing up. I grew up as an Astros fan also, and I've always known the rivalries. There are some histories (with the Cubs) that I grew up watching; Ryne Sandberg. Just being a part of that history now is great.

Q: Have you sat down personally with the Cubs' front office and the people who wanted you to be a part of this organization?

A: I have talked to a couple of them, but I really haven't had a chance to sit down. That's probably going to happen when the Cubs Convention starts and all that jazz.

Northsiders Report Top Stories