SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- A's manager Bob Melvin has seen young right-hander Sonny Gray pitch in 14 major league games, but the manager is treating Gray as if he were a player with five or six years of experience behind him.

On Thursday, however, some of the inexperience showed. Gray, whose big-league resume consists of 12 starts and 77 innings counting last year's postseason, looked a little shellshocked. The first four batters up for the Arizona Diamondbacks hit him hard, including a two-run double by Martin Prado, and it was all Gray could do to finish the first inning.

He was charged with four runs, let a three-run lead slip away and never looked quite himself.

"The next time out next week, I'm going to approach hitters differently," Gray said. "I want to go out there trying to make it (feel like) more of a regular-season game."

Gray, a second-year pitcher who is locked into one of the five spots in the A's rotation, threw mostly fastballs and changeups and did not have command of the strike zone with either.

As a result, the Diamondbacks were able to tee off. He gave up five hits and four runs in a game that wound up tied 8-8 when it was called after the 10th inning.

It was a feeling Gray hasn't experienced much on the fast track from Vanderbilt to Oakland.

"I felt good, but it doesn't matter how good your stuff is," he said. "When you are 2-0 to every batter, you'll get hit."

Said Melvin, "They hit some fastballs up (in the strike zone). You'll have some outings like that. He just needs to get his work in."

Much of Gray's trouble was with the changeup, and he threw only "one or two curves," a pitch that was big for him last year

"I threw some good (changeups), but there were definitely some that got hit," he said. "It's definitely something I'm still working on."

The A's see the fastball and curve as Gray's two major weapons, but they would like to see the changeup come along as a third pitch, particularly if he could throw it to left-handed hitters in big situations.

"He'll need a third pitch," Melvin said, "especially to left-handers."

The original plan Thursday was to have Gray throw two, or even three, innings and get to about 45 pitches.

The length of the first inning forced the A's to scrap that plan, although Melvin said it was a minor matter.

"I wasn't going to send him out there again after such a long first inning," he said. "It's too early in the season. We've got a lot of time to build up his pitch count."

  • Reliever Ryan Cook threw 20 pitches off a bullpen mound Thursday in testing his stiff right shoulder. Cook, who said the pain is lessening all the time, was enthused at how his body felt and said he was more convinced than ever that he'd be ready to go come opening day.

  • Scott Kazmir gets his first start of the spring Friday at Phoenix Muni in a rematch with the Diamondbacks. The game also will be notable for the first appearance at first base of Alberto Callaspo, assuming the back pain that he developed Thursday doesn't impede him.

  • There is still no timetable for when outfielder Craig Gentry (lower back pain) can join the A's workouts. Gentry has been stretching and doing core work to strengthen his back. "He feels good, and he's eager to get out there," Melvin said. "He's very close. We just want to make sure we feel confident progressing him."

  • Sam Fuld, in the running for an outfield backup job, helped his cause with a game-tying homer in the second inning. "We were happy to get him; he's a big league player," Melvin said, then cautioned by saying, "We only have 25 (jobs)."

  • Addison Russell came off the bench for two hits, including a triple that set up the tying run in the ninth inning.

  • Dan Otero threw two perfect innings of relief after being scheduled to throw only one inning. But he got through the first inning using barely a half dozen pitches, and the A's wanted to see him stretched out, so he got a second inning.

  • Fernando Abad stretched his streak of scoreless innings this spring to four with a quiet seventh, but because of low pitch count, he was asked to throw in the eighth as well. Abad wound up surrendering his first Cactus League run on a solo homer to Jake Lamb.

  • The public address announcer had some issues identifying the A's, including twice announcing that Matt Buschmann was coming in the game. The first time, it was really Jeremy McBryde. And he announced minor league pitcher Seth Frankoff as "Frank Off."

    For more on the A's, see John Hickey's Inside the A's blog at ibabuzz.com/athletics. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JHickey3.

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