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Nats bullpen confident vs. lefties

Jan 29, 2013, 3:11 PM EDT

Photo by USA Today Sports Images

As the MLB offseason progressed this winter, the Nationals seemed to develop a need for left-handed pitching in the bullpen. It was a strength in 2012, but Mike Gonzalez, Sean Burnett, and Tom Gorzelanny all departed to other clubs. Rumors emerged involving pitchers like Jeremy Affeldt and J.P. Howell, but they signed elsewhere.
Then the calendar turned and Washington general manager Mike Rizzo still hadn’t signed another lefty who projects as a primary reliever. He was asked about the vacancy in early January by The Washington Post:
“The right left-handed reliever would be great,” Rizzo said. “I think Davey likes to have at least two left-handed relievers in his bullpen. But we have a very unique and special type of bullpen. Our right-handers get left-handed hitters better than most left-handed specialists get them out. It’s not something that we feel that we have to do.”
Rizzo revealed that the team may, in fact, not sign another left-hander at all. They have Zach Duke re-signed who figures to play a bigger role in 2013, likely as a lefty long reliever, but that may be it. Former first round pick Bill Bray was also signed, but he isn’t expected to be a significant contributor.
Rizzo’s contention is that he already has a group of relief pitchers who can get lefties out and it doesn’t matter what side they throw it from.
“The reason for that is that we feel our right-handed relievers get out lefties and [Manager] Davey [Johnson is] not a big left-on-left, one-batter-at-a-time type of manager anyways.”
Rizzo was talking about guys like Tyler Clippard and Ryan Mattheus. Clippard has held lefties to a .186 average and .593 OPS across 698 batters faced. Those numbers are noticeably better than his stats against right-handers, a .213 batting average against and .691 opponent’s OPS. 
Mattheus has faced fewer lefties in his time, 162 total plate appearances, but boasts a .214 batting average against. Drew Storen has also been strong against them with a .229 BAA and .583 OPS.

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  1. Sophie's Dad - Jan 29, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    Uh-oh! Today's story is now about Gio. Let's hope the Nats solid rotation stays that way.http://www.miaminewtimes.com/2013-01-31/news/a-rod-and-doping-a-miami-clinic-supplies-drugs-to-sports-biggest-names/full/

  2. Tcostant - Jan 29, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    I was just about to post the same thing Sophie. It would just break my heart if Gio is a cheater…

  3. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 29, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    I listed 2 websites for MIC and AminoRip on the Rizzo thread and are hoping my initial research is good.None of the MIC or AminoRip supplements are banned from what I can tell.MIC is a dietary weight loss supplement and AminoRip is an over the counter non-anabolic protein supplement.Yes, guilt by association is horrific because people jump to judgement when your name is in the same sentence as ARoid and Melky. From what I can tell, I think Gio really did just make some supplement purchases.

  4. tayo - Jan 29, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    Any one see the story on espn linking Gio to a clinic known to be involved in PED's. They don't say what he went there for and his father also has visited this clinic.http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/8893139/report-alex-rodriguez-others-miami-clinic-ped-lists

  5. EmDash - Jan 29, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    From the other post: man, Gio's the last guy I'd expect it of, if only because – and this is probably a stupid reason – he's just not all that muscular-looking.This page indicates that nothing in Aminorip is on the MLB-banned list, so it's possible nothing will come of it and that he really wasn't taking anything illicit. If so, I feel bad for the guy – no matter how the investigation turns out, this kind of allegation will linger over his whole career.

  6. Tcostant - Jan 29, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    Just remember before you believe the Gio’s fathers story, that Andy Pettitte stated a while back that he used his father to obtain the HGH he used. This is just sad…

  7. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 29, 2013 at 3:37 PM

    Agree with EmDash. Even if Gio is proven innocent, people will always talk about this. Just like what happened to Braun.

  8. Teddy Rochlis - Jan 29, 2013 at 3:38 PM

    I was about to start freaking out about this, in fact last night i thought i was dreaming about it turns out i had MLB network on, Im just shocked, i think Gio is the last person to cheat and hopefully he gets cleared.

  9. MicheleS - Jan 29, 2013 at 3:38 PM

    Thing is.. some of the guys named have been tested and failed. Gio has not.

  10. Teddy Rochlis - Jan 29, 2013 at 3:41 PM

    Yah MicheleS but the problem is once your name is associated with the PEDs its never the same and people will begin to look at you differently it doesn't matter if your clean or not. Look at Piazza or Clemens. We just don't want that kind of pressure on Gio, he should be focusing on pitching not the media this season.

  11. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 29, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    MicheleS said… Thing is.. some of the guys named have been tested and failed. Gio has not. January 29, 2013 10:38 AM That's a very valid point but remember that any player proven to have received banned substances can be suspended under the CBA even without a positive test.Lance Armstrong never had a positive test nor did Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens.We are all smart enough to know that there are still cheaters out there.

  12. MicheleS - Jan 29, 2013 at 3:44 PM

    Teddy/Ghost, I agree.. the perception is bad and he will be convicted in the court of pubic opinion, BUT we don't have the FACTS or even the Details. So far what i have heard/seen is that the stuff associated with GIO is weight lost related.

  13. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 29, 2013 at 3:49 PM

    You all are getting worked up over guilt by association.Read what I wrote about the supplements Gio received. You don't think Ryan Zimmerman takes protein powder supplements? Of course he does. He just didn't purchase them from Anthony Bosch's Biogenesis.Each agent in the MLB has a list for their clients of approved supplements. I've talked to agents before about it.

  14. MicheleS - Jan 29, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    Ghost.. and that is the problem. It doesn't help that Heyman tweets out stuff about suspensions.

  15. natsfan1a - Jan 29, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    I'm with NatsJack, as per his post earlier this morning.natsfan1a said…Nor am I, until all the facts are known.NatsJack in Florida said…I'm not going to jump to any conclussions on this current issue. January 29, 2013 9:44 AM

  16. Tcostant - Jan 29, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    Ghost that was mention only on only one visit, he was there at least 4 other times per the article and his father too. I read what you wrote, while that is good information, I don't think it leads to any real conculsions.

  17. NatsLady - Jan 29, 2013 at 4:05 PM

    I'm praying for Gio, because he has been nothing but fun for us Nats fans. He's given us a great "show" as he calls it, and tweeted a lot in the off-season with pics of his family, his fishing trips, etc. My grandmother and grandfather (lived to 98 and 89 respectively) took a One-A-Day vitamin all their adult lives. I read recently those pills are basically worthless. People, eat a balanced diet, exercise, breathe clean air… This is my advice to Gio and his father: If you are guilty, get out there, admit it, put it behind you, NEVER do it again. If you are not guilty, FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT. You know your heart, we don't.

  18. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 29, 2013 at 4:07 PM

    MicheleS said… Teddy/Ghost, I agree.. the perception is bad and he will be convicted in the court of pubic opinion, BUT we don't have the FACTS or even the Details. So far what i have heard/seen is that the stuff associated with GIO is weight lost relatedWell said. I am a staunch supporter of proper testing and of due process.I also believe that Ryan Braun is innocent and that his sample was tampered with. With as many reasons there are that he was a user, there are just as many reasons someone could try to spike his sample.Yes, that one issue he had will always haunt him. Gio is now under the microscope.There is always a cause and effect for athletes. Look at the lives they live. They are sports celebrities. Gio has a clothing line and is in magazines and on TV all the time.If Gio is guilty of anything, it is poor choices of who he associates himself with like Anthony Bosch and Biogenesis. He better do a better job in the future of making sure his friends and members of his entourage are all upstanding citizens. I worry about him. I've seen him on roadtrips. He is young, wealthy and impressionable. People will take advantage of you Gio.I'm in your corner Gio. Be very careful.

  19. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 29, 2013 at 4:07 PM

    Rest assured that MLB will vett all this information to the n'th degree and if Gio is guilty of anything it will be known and if not, that will be known as well.I'll wait untill they process the information and issue their findings.

  20. NatsNut - Jan 29, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    I dunno. You can get a protein powder at GNC. Why this place?

  21. SCNatsFan - Jan 29, 2013 at 4:10 PM

    Who cares, let them talk. Without evidence all it is is rumor and innuendo. Until the story comes out with solid evidence agaist him I am behind him 100%.On the bullpen topic, most of our storylines are set for the regular season; the two I'll be watching in spring training are Bray and Hrod as either could be a huge boost or a big letdown.Thanks Chase for stepping up to keep us busy from not doing work at work today :)

  22. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 29, 2013 at 4:12 PM

    Tcostant, you are correct. We don't know the full story and never will. The good news is that if the writer of the story had more, they would have written it.Gio's father made his statement. That's all we have to go on.So far as best as I can tell, its just wrong place wrong time.

  23. Doc - Jan 29, 2013 at 4:12 PM

    Nice article, Chase.Unfortunately, Gio upstaged you. Let's hope that the facts go on his side. This is a great team, and Gio is big part of it.

  24. Teddy Rochlis - Jan 29, 2013 at 4:14 PM

    The real question is, is what Gio or Gio's father actually bought, they should have a record of what it was (they are required by federal law to have one) so once the MLB gets a hold of it it should tell the actual story. If he is innocent then i wished he had bought the supplements and a different if he's guilty well i really don't want to think about that.

  25. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 29, 2013 at 4:15 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… Rest assured that MLB will vett all this information to the n'th degree and if Gio is guilty of anything it will be known and if not, that will be known as well.I'll wait untill they process the information and issue their findings. January 29, 2013 11:07 AM I don't totally agree. If they don't find anything on Gio, then MLB will say nothing. He certainly is on the "suspicion" list. MLB never comments on non-findings. Its like if your test is clean they don't announce that Player X is clean.You only hear about the positive tests and/or suspensions.

  26. Tony - Jan 29, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    People who use illegal drugs also take drugs that are legal, and when they need the legal drugs they buy them from the same places that people who only take legal drugs buy them. That's why drug stores don't have to have a sign out front that says "Legal Drug Store" – which is good, because if they did people might confuse them with a seafood place.

  27. MicheleS - Jan 29, 2013 at 4:18 PM

    Ghost.. on the other hand, with as MANY leaks as there are with these stories, I bet we hear something one way or another. I thought it was interesting in the Miami Times article it was "the curious case of Gio…." that tells me they were digging and all they came up with is what they had in the article.

  28. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 29, 2013 at 4:18 PM

    Yes, thanks for the neat breakdown of bullpen Chase. Liked the fact that Ryan also mentioned sample size when talking about his numbers against lefties.

  29. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 29, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    NatsNut said… I dunno. You can get a protein powder at GNC. Why this place?That's my point. Almost all players take supplements. They were just smart enough not to associate with Biogenesis and Anthony Bosch.Also remember that GNC at one time sold Creatine and other Andro products that are now banned but legal before per MLB rules.Players should only be using team and agent approved supplements. Never buy even legal supplements from unreputable sources.Players always have to protect what they ingest to makes sure they aren't tampered products. Trust me, you can never be too careful. Yah, it all sounds cloak & dagger until there's a problem.This is the player's livelihood and profession. You can never be too careful.

  30. rmoore446 - Jan 29, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    Reading the story in Miami New Times, Gio's father denies his son had anything to do with Bosch. "My son works very, very hard and he's clean as apple pie," the elder Gonzalez says. " I went to Tony (Bosch) because I needed to lose weight. A friend recommended him and he did great work for me. But that's it. He never met my son. Never. And if I knew he was doing these things with steroids, do you think I would be dumb enough to go there?"So I'm still concerned as Gio was mentioned in Bosch's notebooks as well as his father. But this from his father is reassuring.

  31. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 29, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    I agree Ghost. That's what I meant. If he's guilty of anything, a suspenension is in order. If not, then nothing happens but either way, we'll know.

  32. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 29, 2013 at 4:23 PM

    Thanks NatsJack. Glad you have a level head. The Tweeterverse is going nuts on this. The Phoolie fans are having fun with it. Its sad. Such the world we live in.

  33. Tcostant - Jan 29, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    I think we all agree, that we hope it untrue and will support Gio either way. If he did anything, come clean now. I bet MLB will drug test everyone mentioned in that article within the next 48 hours (if they have not done so already). I expect the worse and hope for the best.

  34. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 29, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    rmoore446 said… Reading the story in Miami New Times, Gio's father denies his son had anything to do with Bosch. "My son works very, very hard and he's clean as apple pie," the elder Gonzalez says. " I went to Tony (Bosch) because I needed to lose weight. A friend recommended him and he did great work for me. But that's it. He never met my son. Never. And if I knew he was doing these things with steroids, do you think I would be dumb enough to go there?"So I'm still concerned as Gio was mentioned in Bosch's notebooks as well as his father. But this from his father is reassuring. January 29, 2013 11:19 AM Anything is possible and maybe his father is telling the truth and maybe he isn't. Parents start at an early age with their kids and sports. Many parents let it get out of hand. I know one parent who got the Doctor's prescription for injectible HGH for their son. Fully prescribed and legal and the kid was a hulking athlete. You have to ask yourself, what was the motivation for the HGH? Did the Doctor properly and ethically prescribe it? Some parents will go to great lengths for their children and not all are pure intentions.

  35. NatsNut - Jan 29, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    It's giving me a knot in my stomach.

  36. alexva - Jan 29, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    you can't always avoid the wrong time but you can always avoid the wrong place.

  37. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 29, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    GoSM, WOW. I had no idea. I think steroids will eventually become accepted part of the game. That's gonna be a sad day.

  38. sm13 - Jan 29, 2013 at 4:41 PM

    My heart tells me to give Gio the benefit of the doubt. Like Natsnut, though, I have a knot in my stomach.

  39. NatsLady - Jan 29, 2013 at 4:47 PM

    As Bob Costas said, why do Major League athletes (and their families) who have access to the best trainers, facilites, etc. in the WORLD go these hole-in-the-corner storefront suppliers?Gio’s father will defend his son–you expect that. Gio himself needs to get out front of this–if he has done anything, bought anything, taken anything–just admit it and let the chips fall.Right this minute, he is probably in shock. Went to weddings all winter, and he just came up here to NatsFest, signed autographs, etc. Spending a the last few days of the off-season enjoying his freedom and THEN–this hits. Mike Rizzo needs to get down to Florida and find out the real story.Look at Manti Te’o. I happen to feel he is not as “innocent and naive” as he tries to portray himself, and that he and his family knew full well how much “narrative” plays into a Heisman campaign. I don’t want to convict Gio before anything has been proved. But this doesn’t have a good “smell.”

  40. SCNatsFan - Jan 29, 2013 at 4:48 PM

    The thing about Gio's Dad is he'd be saying the same thing whether his story is true or not.

  41. MicheleS - Jan 29, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    Statement:Gio Gonzalez‏@GioGonzalez47I've never used performance enhancing drugs of any kind and I never will ,I've never met or spoken with tony Bosch or used any substance

  42. EmDash - Jan 29, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    Gio's statement, from the updated Washington Times story:"UPDATE: In a statement issued through his representatives, Gonzalez said: 'I've never used performance-enhancing drugs of any kind, and I never will. I've never met or spoken with Tony Bosch or used any substances provided by him. Anything said to the contrary is a lie.'"

  43. SCNatsFan - Jan 29, 2013 at 4:52 PM

    Makes you wonder with the courtship of Vazquez that Rizzo knew a shoe was about to fall

  44. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 29, 2013 at 4:54 PM

    Come on SCNatsFan, you are reading way too much into it.

  45. EmDash - Jan 29, 2013 at 4:56 PM

    If we sign someone like Lohse, that'd be a sign Rizzo knows something is up and likely to lead to a suspension. An injured veteran who could be signed for cheap seems like pretty standard pitching depth move in a go-for-it year.

  46. JD - Jan 29, 2013 at 4:57 PM

    Faraz, I disagree. I think you have to be an idiot to get involved with steroids given what is known about their health effects. I think there will always be cheaters and fools but I think that these will be the small minority. HGH is another issue; it's less clear that it has a negative health effect, and it;'s generally perceived as a recovery agent (faster recovery from injury, fatigue etc) and it's harder to catch. As long as there is competitive Sport and as long as there is mega money involved there will always be an industry to aid cheating and there will always be athletes supporting that industry; that's the way it is. As far as Gio is concerned looking at it from a distance and without any detailed knowledge; it does not look good. As Ghost has pointed out if you get your supplements from the same places as ARod and Melky you will be judged harshly by association and there is some validity to that judgement. I would be very surprised if we are talking steroids here because Gio doesn't look like a steroid user. If I were Gio I would do exactly as NL suggests; I would not stonewall and I would come 100% clean including an explanation of why he picked this particular supplier. I would also heed Ghosts advise and really watch who I associate with.

  47. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 29, 2013 at 4:59 PM

    I'm going to take a break for a while. My brain is on system overload.I agree with NatsLady on the "smell" test. This stinks!

  48. SCNatsFan - Jan 29, 2013 at 5:00 PM

    Faraz, you never know; maybe someone asked him for a quote or leaked this to him a month ago. Not saying it happened but would make the idea of signing a top 5 starter on a team that has 5 top starters a little easier to understand.

  49. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 29, 2013 at 5:07 PM

    JD, I am sure someone will look to figure out steroids that are either not detected or not have as much adverse effects as it does not.SCNatsFan, I thought Javy was always that depth signing we have all talked about all off-season, nothing more.

  50. rmoore446 - Jan 29, 2013 at 5:13 PM

    Agree NatsLady that this has a bad smell. And no matter what the ultimate resolution is by MLB, this smell will linger. Reputations have been damaged by far less. Also agree that Gio has to get in front of this and remember that the cover-up usually causes more problems than the original violation.

  51. JD - Jan 29, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    Gio statement is simply not enough. If what his says is true and he has never taken and PEDs then he still needs to lay out what he bough from this supplier and why he picked this particular supplier. Unfortunately Gio the assertion that you are innocent until proven guilty does not apply to the court of public opinion.

  52. Alphabet Soup Erik - Jan 29, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    Rangers already making plans to replace Nelson Cruz. The Nationals would be wise to do the same. A suspension is coming, and an injury to any of the other starting pitchers would be big trouble. Thanks Gio!!!

  53. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 29, 2013 at 5:35 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  54. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 29, 2013 at 5:36 PM

    What moves you are referring to Erik?

  55. EmDash - Jan 29, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    JD, I think his explanation will be that his father bought supplements there for him that he did not use. It'd be difficult to prove that, and also difficult to prove that it's not true.Alphabet Soup Erik, Rizzo likely knows more about the situation and the possibility of a suspension for Gio than we do, I'd think. It's possible MLB is indicating to him that a suspension is unlikely, and telling the Rangers' GM that Cruz will be suspended. If the Nats sign Lohse, then we'll know there's probably more substance to the Gio story than we've heard at present.

  56. Alphabet Soup Erik - Jan 29, 2013 at 5:40 PM

    Rangers apparently already knew this was coming according to reports. I was talking about the beat writers in Dallas more than the actual team. MLB network just said these guys could get suspended for the entire 2013 season and the 50 game ban wouldn't apply for some reason.

  57. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 29, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    new psot!

  58. EmDash - Jan 29, 2013 at 5:49 PM

    Hm, until we know more, I'd have to regard that as speculation on their part? I can't imagine why they'd be punished more, unless there are new rules I'm not familiar with (which there might be).

  59. RaleighNat - Jan 29, 2013 at 5:56 PM

    I think everyone needs to calm down. We just don't know. I've got a feeling he's going to be vindicated but who knows. As Natslady says, he should get 100% out in front of this thing…if he's messed up, stand up and take the medicine (ok, maybe a bad metaphor), if he's clean, immediately lay out all of the facts…what he bought, when, and why there… I am waiting for someone to learn that it is always the cover up and evasiveness that gets you.

  60. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 29, 2013 at 6:35 PM

    This is going to take months and months to sort out. From the outside, it would seem the Nats have to plan for every possible outcome. This — and I am speculating — would mean signing Vazquez or the equivalent to a major league contract and keeping him on the roster, and not some B.S. minor league deal with an "opt out." At this point I doubt the Nats know anything more than we do and they must be just as uncertain about the outcome.

  61. Scooter - Jan 29, 2013 at 7:15 PM

    Everyone's gotten distracted by other matters, but I just wanted to tell young Mr. Hughes that I really enjoyed reading this article.If I may be so bold, Chase, I think that your writing has improved by leaps and bounds over the past few years. Congratulations. Mark Zuckerman is a hard act to follow, but I'm glad we have you as our backup.

  62. natsfan1a - Jan 29, 2013 at 8:31 PM

    Seconded.Scooter said… If I may be so bold, Chase, I think that your writing has improved by leaps and bounds over the past few years. Congratulations. Mark Zuckerman is a hard act to follow, but I'm glad we have you as our backup.

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