gods-wrathWhen the Chicago Cubs acquired Jeff Gray from the Oakland A’s earlier this offseason, he was a presumed member of the 2010 bullpen. But a nasty groin strain has kept him out of action for more than a month, cutting into his chances to land a spot in the bullpen.

Finally, though, he’ll soon be ready to face live hitting. Whether that is in batting practice or in a Spring Training game, however, is unclear.

Relief pitcher Jeff Gray should face live hitting some time by the end of this week, according to Piniella. The former Oakland Athletics pitcher strained a groin two weeks before spring training began on Feb. 17. ESPN Chicago.

Gray, 28, was fairly good in 26 innings last year for the A’s, but that was his first meaningful taste of big league action. Thus, the presumption that he’d automatically be a member of the pen may not be appropriate. Even with Angel Guzman out, Gray is going to have to demonstrate effectiveness before he’ll be handed a spot in the pen.

  • KevinG

    I got question for you Ace, with all of the talent up the middle the Cubs have and all of the big contract. Do you think they would be better off trying to trade some of their talent to quick fix the holes they have or ride out the big contracts and keep some of the talent? One more question do you think A-ram will opt out if the Cubs dont make the playoffs?

    • Ace

      To the first question, I think unfortunately most of the big contract guys are untradeable, even if the Cubs wanted to trade them. So I expect the plan to be to let the big contracts play out, and let the young guys develop to replace them in the coming years. I think it could result in some very expensive bench players.

      I think ARam’s decision about whether or not to opt out will have less to do with how the Cubs do and more to do with how he does, and what the market looks like. He’s scheduled to get $14.6 million in 2011 (plus a $16 million club option in 2012 or a $2 million buyout, so that 2011 salary is really more like $16.6 million), which might be close to what he’d get on the open market right now. But if the Cubs are willing to extend him, he might have no reason to opt out. My guess is if he has a healthy, productive year, he’ll talk to the Cubs about an extension before deciding whether to opt out.