Mets' Granderson keeping tabs on Crew's Ray

Mets' Granderson keeping tabs on Crew's Ray

MILWAUKEE -- Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson is keeping a close eye on Brewers prospect Corey Ray's comeback from knee surgery.

As a longtime mentor to Ray, a fellow Chicago-area native who ranks second on MLBPipeline.com's list of the top Brewers prospects and No. 25 overall, Granderson said he spoke with the Carolina Mudcats outfielder a few days ago to see how his recovery process was going during Ray's first full Minor League season.

Ray suffered a torn meniscus last year during the Brewers' fall instructional league and spent the offseason in rehab mode.

"I know the injury obviously was a setback, but him being in Arizona in the offseason was good being around the Brewers facility," Granderson said at Miller Park, where the Mets are playing the Brewers this weekend. "Getting a chance to rehab I'm sure helped speed things up for him."

The three-time All-Star last saw Ray during Brewers Spring Training in Phoenix during his annual trip to work with Mets hitting coach Kevin Long in Scottsdale. Granderson and Ray, who met through mutual friend Anthony Ray in the Cardinals organization, got a chance to hang out and chat over the weekend.

Granderson and the Mets were playing at Miller Park when Ray was drafted fifth overall by the Brewers in 2016, a selection that made Ray the first player from Chicago drafted in the top five since Jeff Jackson was selected by the Phillies in 1989.

Ray is batting .232 (23-of-99) with 13 RBIs and eight stolen bases over 23 games with the Mudcats. But Granderson said he probably won't look at Ray's statistics until the end of the season.

"I know just going through the season, there's going to be highs and lows, and there's no reason to read too much into it because I can't get the full picture. I'm only reading numbers and not getting a chance to see him play," Granderson said.

Instead, Granderson said he's more interested in how Ray is feeling and handing the challenges of recovering from surgery.

"If anything, when I do talk to him, I'm asking how he's doing up at the plate and just get a sense from that, not necessarily what he did the night before."

Granderson and Ray share a wealth of similarities; they're both African-American, Illinois natives and outfielders who bat left-handed. While Granderson has been in the Major Leagues for 13 seasons, he said he still gets excited to see the progress Ray is making in the Minors.

"He's been working hard," Granderson said. "He's been able to do a lot of great things early in his career, and hopefully he continues to use that as motivation for what the big picture is, and that's getting to the big leagues and establishing a big league career."

Carson Mason is an associate reporter for MLB.com based in Milwaukee. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.