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Rumor Central: Sonny Gray drawing interest from Indians?

The Indians are reportedly evaluating Athletics starting pitcher Sonny Gray in advance of the July 31 trade deadline. Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Indians got a firsthand view of Oakland Athletics pitcher Sonny Gray on Friday night as the right-hander tossed six shutout innings against them, allowing two hits and striking out five.

Rumor CentralLess than 24 hours later, ESPN's Buster Olney reported that the defending American League champs are evaluating Gray as the July 31 trade deadline approaches.

"[Gray] was commanding from the beginning," Indians manager Terry Francona told reporters after Friday's game. "We never were able to get much going at all. Everything was down and off of the fastball, and in the same location was that fading changeup."

Gray is now 3-1 in his past four starts, surrendering just four earned runs across 27 innings during that time. The 27-year-old has rebounded from an injury-plagued 2016 to post the best strikeout-to-walk ratio since his rookie season (3.04). He has compiled a 3.72 ERA and is under team control through 2019. The 2015 All-Star is making a modest $3.575 million this season.

Although the Indians were able to advance to the World Series last season with a patchwork starting rotation, they are in the market for depth behind Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco. Danny Salazar is on the disabled list, while Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin have both been rather ineffective this season.

Oakland, meanwhile, has never been shy about dealing away starting pitchers at the deadline. The A's, who traded Rich Hill and Scott Kazmir around this time in recent years, emerged from the break in the cellar of the American League West.

-- Nick Ostiller