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Sonny Gray was voted the American League Pitcher of the Month for April, completing an excellent stretch for the young right-hander atop the Oakland A's rotation.
Gray attracted quite a crowd for his pregame media session after recieving the honor. Here’s a sampling of what he had to say:
--Is he surprised at how much success he’s had so early in his career?
“I have a really high expectation for myself. You can put in the work and prepare yourself. And when you get out there when the game starts, it’s all about the game and getting guys out and winning games. Nothing’s really a surprise when you get to this level. You put in the work and the results will take care of themselves. If it’s something you start to think about, then the results will probably suffer.”
--Do you try to keep things light and have fun in general at the ballpark?
“Yeah, it is fun. Every time you take the mound it’s fun. I love my start day. It’s something I look forward to all week. When do I get the ball again? When do I get to be on the mound? And I try to take that day and make something special out of it.”
--When you learned that Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin were lost to injury, did that alter your mindset about your role in this rotation?
“Not really. I knew coming into spring training, I was really just trying to earn a spot in the rotation. I didn’t know where it would be. I really wanted to earn a spot, and then you see guys go down like that, and it’s really tough. But we’ve had guys step up. Everyone knows that’s what this team’s been about. It’s tough seeing guys go down like that, especially when they’re your friends. But you see guys go down, and you need to pick it up just a little bit. And how that goes, you never really know.”
--How much did this first month feel like a continuation of last season, when you were on a roll?
“Coming in and taking the mound on opening day, it kind of felt like it was five days after the last playoff start, and you get right back into the flow of the game and the flow of the season.”
Gray, 24, went 4-1 with a 1.76 ERA over six starts, throwing his first career shutout and striking out 37 in 41 innings.
His body of work for the month included an Opening Night Start that actually took place on March 31.