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Gio "very confident" he’ll be cleared

Feb 12, 2013, 4:33 PM EST

VIERA, Fla. — Reiterating that he’s never taken performance enhancing drugs, Gio Gonzalez reported to Nationals spring training this morning and said he’s already spoken to MLB investigators looking into the left-hander’s connection with a Miami clinic suspected of dealing PEDs.

“I’ve cooperated,” he said. “I’ve done everything they wanted me to do.”

Gonzalez spoke to print reporters for 15 minutes inside the dugout at Space Coast Stadium, the first five on his connection to the Biogenesis clinic, and appeared as loose and carefree as he was throughout his 21-win season with the Nationals.

The 27-year-old pitcher said he’s “very confident” he’ll be cleared by MLB of any wrongdoing and expanded on his initial Jan. 29 statement denying any relationship with Biogenesis or its chief, Anthony Bosch. The Miami New Times published pages from Bosch’s notebook that included Gonzalez’s name listed next to several substances. None appear to be obvious illegal performance enhancers, though one was referred to as “pink cream,” a substance Gonzalez said today he has never heard of.
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  1. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 12, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    I seem to remember somebody posting "his Dad did it" last week.

  2. Joe Seamhead - Feb 12, 2013 at 4:42 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Joe Seamhead - Feb 12, 2013 at 4:43 PM

    We need a "like" button, Jack!

  4. MicheleS - Feb 12, 2013 at 4:43 PM

    Good stuff Mark. Hopefully this gets cleared up quickly and Gio can move on.

  5. NatsLady - Feb 12, 2013 at 4:47 PM

    On another topic, ran across this very interesting stats-related article. The "tipping-point" for wins/losses is 39 batters faced. If a team faces 38 or fewer batters, they have a better than 50% chance of winning. Davey isn't mentioned, although Maddon is, along with Rick Peterson, but you can almost hear Davey preaching this. In general, it remains advantageous to shy away from extending the opponent's lineup with intentional walks and shortening one's own with sacrifice bunts. Furthermore, errors hurt one's club for how it rotates the opposing lineup even if a run doesn't score in that inning. And, just as Peterson discovered, proactive bullpen use should be encouraged, not only to squelch rallies but also to prevent unnecessary lineup turnover.Note well: proactive bullpen use.Maddon's number is 145. 145 or less pitches seen by the opponents gives you a winning percent of 70. More than that and it drops by half.Baseball's Magic Number

  6. NatsLady - Feb 12, 2013 at 4:50 PM

    The more I think about the article I posted above, the more obvious it seems. Regardless of what happens in a particular inning, the less often the best hitters get to hit, the better.

  7. sjm308 - Feb 12, 2013 at 5:00 PM

    On a totally personal note – Just got our opening day tickets!!! Love our agent who had them set aside for us even though we had not contacted him. They really do a nice job of helping season ticket holders even though we are just a 20 game package. I guess since we have been with him since day 1 that also helps but it will be nice to be in our regular seats instead of out in Centerfield.Go Nats!!!!

  8. Navy Nats Fan - Feb 12, 2013 at 5:10 PM

    SJM308, where are your seats? Ours are in 312, and I had been told that the seats there are apportioned to a half plan plus two partials, with the half plan holder getting opening day, so they wouldn't be available for us. But then I went online this morning and got 4 in 315. Wondering if I should "train" my account manager.

  9. Tony - Feb 12, 2013 at 5:13 PM

    Was this a special sale for STH who didn't have opening day in their plan? I have opening day in my plan and I heard nothing about it.

  10. MicheleS - Feb 12, 2013 at 5:14 PM

    I CAN'T GO TO OPENING DAY! my job just interferes to much with baseball

  11. MicheleS - Feb 12, 2013 at 5:20 PM

    Tony, it was for people with partial plans. Supposedly, Full and 1/2 season people will get a chance to buy additional tickets for opening day later this week (they already have them in their plans)

  12. Faraz Shaikh - Feb 12, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    depending on your OD record, we will miss you (or not) Michele. :PI am definitely going.

  13. NatsLady - Feb 12, 2013 at 5:30 PM

    MicheleS, I can't go either. Boo for Opening Day being on a Monday. Probably won't get to a game until the Barves series.

  14. Faraz Shaikh - Feb 12, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    no half days for you guys?that's my plan at least, unless I mysteriously fall sick and the closest pharmacy is at '1500 South Capitol St SE'.

  15. MicheleS - Feb 12, 2013 at 5:36 PM

    FS… i have to do payroll on 4/1, can't get out of that.

  16. Faraz Shaikh - Feb 12, 2013 at 5:41 PM

    Sorry for you guys.One great thing about working with MDs is they never hold meetings after 12 noon. Just perfect if you want to catch an afternoon ballgame.In other news Latos avoiding arbitration hearing means JZ is now one of three players remaining to agree to a contract. Exactly one week they have to work out their numbers.

  17. natsfan1a - Feb 12, 2013 at 5:45 PM

    My flex plan doesn't have opening day as an option but I'm not really into opening day so it's not an issue. Have been to a couple of them but am not really big on the opening day crowds. That said, I didn't really mind the postseason crowds. :-)

  18. Section 222 - Feb 12, 2013 at 5:47 PM

    STH presale for Opening Day will be Thursday. Email from the Nats should be coming around shortly.

  19. NatsLady - Feb 12, 2013 at 5:48 PM

    FS–No half-days. Monday is a big teaching day for me because the students have a half-day at school, so I start at 1:30 or 2:00 and go straight through to 9 pm. Same for Saturday, loaded up with students from 10 am. to 6 pm. Can usually get to a Saturday evening game by the 2nd inning (or on-time if there is a rain delay).

  20. NatsNut - Feb 12, 2013 at 5:55 PM

    I really wanted Gio to have some good answers and these satisfied.

  21. UnkyD - Feb 12, 2013 at 6:11 PM

    Facinating. For two weeks, no matter the topic, the comment thread was 80% Gio. I love it! Only thing left to wonder about is whether Tcostant is satisfied with Gio's denial, or does he want the interrogation to continue…… PLAY BALL!!! (Gulp, BANG!)

  22. NatsNut - Feb 12, 2013 at 6:15 PM

    UnkyD, the difference is that for once Gio is actually the topic of the post. 😉

  23. Section 222 - Feb 12, 2013 at 6:15 PM

    I was checking with my season ticket group to find out how many would like to go to the Yankees exhibition game. The best response: "No interest in seeing the Yankees unless they’re losing the World Series to the Nats!"

  24. sm13 - Feb 12, 2013 at 6:18 PM

    I give Gio credit for addressing the issue head on and on the first day of ST. Hopefully, he is able to put this behind him and focus fully on another 20 win season.

  25. Tcostant - Feb 12, 2013 at 6:26 PM

    I'm happy (so far) with Gio's response. Although I thought it was interesting that his interview was only with "print media". I hope someone asked him, "have you ever been to the Biogenesis clinic", so that it is on record. [Which is entirely different from just meeting Anthony Bosch].All in all, the WBC invite to me, seems that Gio will be okay. I can't believe they would invite him, if they had anything worthbeing suspended for 50 games.

  26. NatsLady - Feb 12, 2013 at 6:30 PM

    Mark, looking forward to your reports and impressions. Here are some questions I have.(1) How many players are expected at camp, and can you break them down by position players/pitchers and minor-leaguers with and without a major-league chance? How does this compare with other teams and past years. I know the Orioles expect 60 players and their camp, and some teams expect 70.(2) What is the schedule? Meetings, warm-ups, exercises, PFP, etc. Those of us who aren't there would like to visualize the day.(3) How do they look, compared to last year? In shape? Rusty? Is the team taking any particular precautions to minimize spring training injuries? (4) Any Davey-isms? Those are always appreciated.Thanks!

  27. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Feb 12, 2013 at 6:31 PM

    So, does the WBC have its own testing procedures?

  28. Section 222 - Feb 12, 2013 at 6:32 PM

    Most important, how many of the guys are in the best shape of their life?

  29. NatsLady - Feb 12, 2013 at 6:36 PM

    Tcostant–I still believe there is more to this WBC invitation/acceptance than we will ever know, but so be it. Community service, plea bargain, whatever. He doesn't say when he got the call, or when he decided to accept. Gio will have to undergo rigorous testing (Olympic style) and will hopefully pass with flying colors. Setting aside PEDs, of the pitchers on our staff, he is the best representative, Ace-quality, the least likely to be injured–based on history—and the least likely to suffer from added innings. Det isn't an Ace (yet); Stras is going to need all his innings for the season, and same for JZ; and we don't know yet how well Haren will recover from his health issues. I don't want ANY of our relievers there, as their seasons are stressful enough as it is. It's too bad Harper couldn't/wouldn't go, but you can see the point of his wanting a full major-league season, including ST, under his belt. Desi had injuries last season, same with Zim. Gio was the right choice.

  30. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Feb 12, 2013 at 6:44 PM

    These are all good answers, but the only information I see that we didn't have weeks ago is that he says he did not know his father was going to this clinic, and that he says he never took zinc/MIC/Aminorip, all of which are allowed and over-the-counter, I think. I'm not criticizing, I'm just noticing. It's got to be hard to give details about something that never happened.

  31. NatsLady - Feb 12, 2013 at 6:47 PM

    Sofa,The WBC performs its own drug testing under the auspices of the International Baseball Federation, which uses the same protocols as the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which oversees Olympic competition.

  32. Section 222 - Feb 12, 2013 at 6:53 PM

    NL, I agree with your assessment that Gio was a very good choice for the WBC if any Nat had to play for the U.S.But there is simply no way MLB would change its investigation or the penalty for PED use in any way in exchange for his participation. The message that would send if it were true and got out would be beyond awful. So if you're a star player, good enough to play in the WBC, we'll let you skate? That would be crazy, and probably violate the CBA.

  33. Tony - Feb 12, 2013 at 6:55 PM

    Are Clippard and Storen wearing their wedding rings? Any PDA in the bullpen, or do they save that for the clubhouse? How about LaRoche and Soriano, or does what happens in the suite stay in the suite?

  34. Tony - Feb 12, 2013 at 6:58 PM

    Competing in the WBC will allow Gio to experience a drug test and pull a reverse Palmeiro sooner than waiting for the regular season would.

  35. NatsLady - Feb 12, 2013 at 7:05 PM

    222, actually I don't think they did alter their investigation or penalty. Rather, I think MLB probably cleared Gio, or at least indicated the evidence was inconclusive, but Rizzo figured it might be best for PR if he accepted the invite. I do think the investigation is entirely separate from the WBC invitations, but you can't help but imagine there might have been a phone call between Torre and Rizzo along the lines of, "Look, we need to get this expedited and settled, hopefully before the season starts. Is there anything we can do?" "Well, it wouldn't hurt if Gio pitched for the WBC." "I'll set it up." We heard about a lot of invitations, excuses, indecisiveness, etc., but we never heard about Gio being invited until he accepted. Coincidence==> of course it could be.

  36. NatsLady - Feb 12, 2013 at 7:11 PM

    And, actually, I don't think the message would be "beyond awful" at all. Rather, it would indicate flexibility on the part of all concerned, like a judge being creative with a young defendant who is a good guy with a good record, and who, instead of sending it to a jury that might convict, says, "How about some community service and we'll call it a deal, and if you stay clean then after two years the record is expunged." Happens all the time. Kid gets the scare of his life and walks the straight and narrow forever after.This isn't "beyond awful," because it's NOT drunk driving, domestic abuse, accessory to murder, or any of another crimes that athletes have committed and NOT been suspended for.

  37. JD - Feb 12, 2013 at 7:11 PM

    NL, The Olympic drug testing protocol is the one Lance beat for 7 years. no? I think it's good that Gio spoke to the media and didn't 'lawyer up'. I think it's important that he categorically repeated his denial of PED use and I am prepared to take his word for it at this time. The fact that his dad ended up at the same clinic as ARod, Melky and Braun is still troubling for me and I think that this will still be shaken out but for now let's move on to Baseball.

  38. NatsLady - Feb 12, 2013 at 7:17 PM

    So, I agree with Tcostant–MLB didn't find anything (or enough) that they were going to suspend GIo. Gio gets tested before the season, gets some good pub, gets out of the clubhouse, and the Nats get on Torre's good side. I'm looking forward to the WBC with a lot more interest!

  39. NatsLady - Feb 12, 2013 at 7:20 PM

    Jesus Montero in effect "lawyered up." (Actually, he "agented up," if there is such a thing.) He said he didn't do anything (of course) and his agents will handle everything and clean it all up for him. I definitely like Gio's approach better. And I agree, there are still troubling aspects to this, but also agree, there is only so much you can know from the outside, so let's play baseball. Gotta go to work, so I'm out for a while. :)Jesus Montero

  40. Section 222 - Feb 12, 2013 at 7:31 PM

    NL, all I can say is that you have a very fertile imagination. If MLB had cleared Gio, why would Gio not say so? And if they find or found that he is guilty of something, there is no way they let him off with a WBC slap on the wrist because he's a good guy with a good record. I hate to break this to everyone, but this story isn't over just because Gio reiterated his denial in a five minute interview. The investigation is ongoing. I'm really happy that Gio is confident enough to make the statements he did today. Torre's invitation, which came via voicemail last week, seems like a good sign. Things look promising for our World Series or bust season at the moment. But Mark's story makes it clear that Gio is waiting for the investigation to be completed. We probably should too before popping the champagne corks.

  41. Steady Eddie - Feb 12, 2013 at 7:33 PM

    NL, obviously we're all just speculating here, but my guess would be something along the lines of a milder version of your first and second (2:05) comment on this — that they didn't find anything problematic and appropriate for any kind of sanction, but that Gio's training with Goins may have reflected some questionable judgment on his part, at a minimum in terms of outside perceptions. Combined with some MLB/Nats finger-wagging in private about Goins etc., the WBC would as you said let him be seen in public as a solid citizen — especially as MLB does not seem to publicly "clear" the innocent or relatively innocent players in these investigations.

  42. Steady Eddie - Feb 12, 2013 at 7:36 PM

    222, my comment about MLB not explicitly clearing players wasn't written in response to your comment at 2:31, but that's what I do recall reading — that they only say if they find something about a player that warrants some disciplinary process, but not the converse.

  43. NatsLady - Feb 12, 2013 at 7:54 PM

    JD (dressed and ready to go to work)—I hear what you are saying about Armstrong. But he had a lot of help in cheating the system. Gio will be under a microscope, and unless a lot of the Nats' organization is corrupt, he isn't going to get that kind of "help." Armstrong was their boss, with a lot of hold on them, a kind of hold Gio doesn't have on his teammates and Nats staff.If the Nats' organization is that corrupt, heaven help us.Eddie, right. We may never know if MLB "clears" Gio unless they make some sort of announcement or report. 222, I don't think Gio knows (or may ever know) if he's been cleared. He CERTAINLY can't speak for MLB. There is no way he can say, "I didn't do it and MLB has cleared me of all wrong-doing" even if he knows that's the case–and he probably doesn't, as MLB has not finished its investigation. I am in the school of "there are VERY FEW coincidences." Not none, but very few. You can't on the one hand say it's entirely NOT coincidental that Gio's father was a patient at a suspect clinic, Gio's trainer has suspicions attached to him, and Gio's agents have suspicions attached to them, and on the other say, Oh, yes, but it IS coincidental that the one player on the team associated with PEDs is the one player on the team Rizzo is OK with being in the WBC (other than Bernie). There is a lot below the surface.Anyway, I'm not Gio's judge, nor am I on his jury, so I don't have to decide if he's guilty or not guilty.

  44. peric - Feb 12, 2013 at 8:09 PM

    The "big news" still is Espinosa's complete tear of his rotator cuff. This guy *IS* a platoon bat. I can't see how this is going to work without surgery … I hope I am wrong …Gio and this issue will likely take some time to meander through the system …

  45. Tony - Feb 12, 2013 at 8:19 PM

    Rizzo probably has more authority over deciding which of his players are allowed to marry each other than he does over deciding which ones are allowed to play in the WBC.

  46. Tony - Feb 12, 2013 at 8:24 PM

    If Espinosa's rotator cuff is completely torn, then he should have no more trouble playing through that than R.A. Dickey had pitching without even having a UCL. Just as muscles that aren't there can't hurt, neither can muscles that are already completely torn. The issue will be performance, not pain. Whereas last September while the rotator cuff was still in the process of becoming torn, pain was definitely an issue.

  47. Tcostant - Feb 12, 2013 at 8:27 PM

    NatsLady at 2:54pm -I think we'll know that MLB has moved on from Gio (maybe not "cleared") once other guys are suspended from the NewTimes report. So for example, If Melky and Arod are announced as suspended and no others are mentioned, I think we can assume MLB has moved on. I expect all the ones to loss time, will be disciplined together.

  48. Scooter - Feb 12, 2013 at 8:44 PM

    You know how you can tell I've moved on? I'm reading the new post.

  49. Section 222 - Feb 12, 2013 at 8:52 PM

    Steady, I read that too (about MLB not clearing players), but I don't know that it's true, and it kind of sounds like it isn't. Mark's report suggests that Gio and the Nats will be told something once the investigation is finished. They aren't going to have the sword of Damocles hanging over their heads all season. In any event, I don't know how you or NL can conclude, based on Gio's press conference today, that "they didn't find anything problemmatic or appropriate for any kind of sanction" much less that the WBC gig is any kind of formal or informal "community service" for Gio.NL, I realize that you are in the "very few things are coincidental" school. Trying to wrap the WBC invitation and acceptance into the story, however, tends toward the conspiratorial. It just doesn't ring true for me.

  50. Dan Heuchert - Feb 12, 2013 at 9:18 PM

    I like Gio's flat denial, and I certainly hope he's right. Because if he is ever proven to be lying, that denial can and will be used against him.

  51. Steady Eddie - Feb 12, 2013 at 9:26 PM

    222 — I don't know that those two thoughts are necessarily mutually inconsistent. MLB may never say anything publicly about a player it has investigated and will not proceed to discipline — but that doesn't mean they wouldn't say anything privately to the player and the team. That "anything" information may be accompanied by a "and you do not repeat any of what we've just told you beyond the people we're telling it to now" (or a message to that effect).

  52. JayB - Feb 12, 2013 at 10:04 PM

    Mark,Sorry if I missed it but did nobody ask about the trainer he was using. He clearly is linked to this clinic and some bad stuff.

  53. natsfan1a - Feb 12, 2013 at 11:22 PM

    Did somebody just say something? I didn't hear it, because I was at the new post and all. :-)Scooter said… You know how you can tell I've moved on? I'm reading the new post. February 12, 2013 3:44 PM

  54. natsfan1a - Feb 12, 2013 at 11:24 PM

    That said: word.Section 222 said… I hate to break this to everyone, but this story isn't over just because Gio reiterated his denial in a five minute interview. The investigation is ongoing. I'm really happy that Gio is confident enough to make the statements he did today. Torre's invitation, which came via voicemail last week, seems like a good sign. Things look promising for our World Series or bust season at the moment. But Mark's story makes it clear that Gio is waiting for the investigation to be completed. We probably should too before popping the champagne corks. February 12, 2013 2:31 PM





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