PHOENIX, Ariz. -- After an eye-opening Spring Training in 2012, right-handed pitcher Sonny Gray spent the majority of the 2012 season with Double-A Midland. However, after experiencing a full camp, Oakland's 2011 first round Draft pick enters 2013 with a renewed sense of confidence.
"Coming into the second camp it is night and day different from the first," Gray said. "Knowing a lot of the guys that are here this year, not being nervous walking around, [and] being able to be myself is huge. That's the biggest difference between this year and last year."
In Double-A, Gray compiled a 6-9 record with 4.14 ERA. He also made one start for Triple-A Sacramento, and had an appearance in the playoffs. With the added experience, the former 18th overall pick altered his offseason routine in anticipation of starting 2013 in Sacramento.
While Gray was used to to playing catch and resuming baseball activities around the beginning of January, he elected to begin preparing for the 2013 season in the middle of December.
"I did a lot more baseball related things in the offseason, which was just fielding ground balls or more picks, more baseball activities to get into the baseball thing sooner than spring training," Gray said.
In his one regular-season start for Sacramento, Gray allowed four earned runs in four innings. The 23-year-old noticed the difference in talent from Midland to Sacramento, but now knows what to expect in Triple-A.
In addition to last season's experience, Gray will also be able to rely on the experience he gains picking the brains of current Major Leaguers during Spring Training.
"Everyone kind of just talks here and there," Gray said of the pitchers in camp. "There's a bunch of young guys in here and everyone kind of knows everyone and picks up things from everyone."
Depending on Gray's performance in Sacramento, as well as the health and success of Oakland's rotation, there is a chance Gray could make an appearance for the big league club as early as this year. However, Gray refuses to let that thought enter his mind as he is simply focused on one thing.
"I'm just trying to get better and learn as much as I can in Spring Training," Gray said.