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Gio back in his comfort zone

Feb 26, 2013, 3:07 AM EDT

Associated Press
Gio Gonzalez was pleased with his two innings of work tonight.

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Since arriving in camp two weeks ago, Gio Gonzalez has found himself talking more about off-the-field developments — his connection to the Biogenesis clinic under investigation, his addition to Team USA’s roster for the World Baseball Classic — than anything having to do with actually pitching a baseball.

Tonight, then, offered Gonzalez the opportunity to return to his comfort zone. He took the mound at Tradition Field for his first start of the year, and all was right with the world again.

Even if he was surprisingly nervous in that moment.

“It’s good to get on that mound again and get back at it,” the left-hander said. “Especially with the fan support I was getting out there. It’s good to hear that fans still support you and still love you. There were butterflies. You get the butterflies again. That’s a good thing.”
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  1. SonnyG10 - Feb 26, 2013 at 4:10 AM

    So nice to hear that fans were giving him good support. I want him to know he's getting a lot of love from the fans. Go Gio! GYFNG!!!

  2. Laddie Blah Blah - Feb 26, 2013 at 10:25 AM

    Gio has handled everything like a champ. Those Mets fans in Port St. Lucie appreciate that.

  3. baseballswami - Feb 26, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    Watched some of the game late last night on DVR. Was surprised to hear the Met announcers speaking so favorably towards the Nats. Gio looked pretty good after he settled down-good velocity, and a sharp curve. I enjoy watching the younger guys play and try to make an impression on the organization. Even though we have lost some players in trades, we still have some really good ones. It's almost like watching a prospects all- star game. Interesting , when Lombo and Moore are the veterans on the field. A couple of guys have some real speed.

  4. NatsLady - Feb 26, 2013 at 11:42 AM

    swami, yes. I was working so only heard snippets, but the Mets announcers sure seemed in the tank for the Nats.

  5. Gonat - Feb 26, 2013 at 11:47 AM

    baseballswami, I felt the same way watching the prospects. Most of them held their own and some like Eury Perez blazed with speed. Rendon crushed 2 balls and after he was robbed of a HR got a nice oppo single that was just tattoo'd.Nate Karns was impressive not only on his fastball but also in his post-game interview as he acknowledged there's no openings right now to make the rotation and he just wants his shot to do his best and get better in the Minors.For those of us who enjoy players that come into camp in great shape we get this quote from Karns: "I feel like I did a lot in the offseason to strengthen my lower body and give me some more endurance." Then there is this great line for those that appreciate velo but don't want to see Wild Pitches (not to Henry):"If I get a couple more ticks on the radar that’s a bonus. But it doesn’t really matter if it’s at the backstop, you want to throw them for strikes."As we saw, Karns top speed according to the broadcast was 97mph.Hello!

  6. BigCat - Feb 26, 2013 at 11:58 AM

    I hate to say it but Rendon swinging very nice. Goes the opposite way with authority. Tubby…..er…Zim better watch it. If his shoulder isn't better soon I could see the kid going North with the big club and Zim heading to extended spring for re hab. You know how Davey is. If he thinks someone can help him, he doesn't care if the kid is in high school, he's playing.

  7. Laddie Blah Blah - Feb 26, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    "If he thinks someone can help him, he doesn't care if the kid is in high school, he's playing."Davey knows what Rendon is. He personally gave him some fielding lessons the other day, but not at 3rd base. Davey took him out to the infield in Viera and gave him one-on-one instruction on footwork for 2nd basemen. Its not Ryan who will be losing his job.I don't care who is in love with whom. The Nats are in the business of competitive athletics, not soap opera melodramatics. Rendon is already the most talented hitter in the entire system. Not just the best-hitting 2nd baseman, or the best-hitting infielder, he is their most talented hitter, right now, period.If Harper was ready at 19, Rendon is more than ready at 22. Davey was instructing him on how to play 2nd base. Note that he didn't bother giving Rendon any tips on hitting. There is nothing that either Davey or Rick can teach young Anthony Rendon about hitting. He already knows more about that than either Lombo or Espinoza will ever know, however long they p[lay the game.If Davey wants to win the WS this year, and he does, then Rendon will be the starting 2nd baseman come opening day, and the Nats will have their second straight ROY winner by the end of the season, and, just maybe. their first World Championship.

  8. Rabbit34 - Feb 26, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    Looking at the guys we have up for spring training, I wouldn't care if any of our regular position players went on DL, with the exception of Harper.

  9. NatsLady - Feb 26, 2013 at 1:17 PM

    Updated post on our lefties. I gave McCoy a D- (barely). Not particularly impressive.Looking for a LOOGYhttp://ladyandthenats.blogspot.com/2013/02/lefties-for-hire.html

  10. natsfan1a - Feb 26, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    Didn't see the last few innings but will watch later via DVR. Atta way, Gio. Atta way, fans.And there's baseball on the radio this afternoon. Yay!

  11. natsfan1a - Feb 26, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    Nice Kilgore story on the Kid Face of the Franchise.

  12. livernonions - Feb 26, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    Regarding Kilgore's article, I'm glad he mentioned Drake's rather unique schooling arrangements. I realize that Adam LaRoche will make more than enough money to support his family for generations, but only sort of half-assedly home schooling Drake so he can hang out with a big league ball club and otherwise be his Dad's best buddy might not be the best thing for him long-term. If he doesn't end up with the skills or luck to be a professional baseball player, the kid is going to be behind the eight ball in terms of being prepared to live a fulfilled life in a career other than hunting. Higher education is decidedly not the right path for everyone, but middle school is kind of an essential social and educational foundation for kids.

  13. natsfan1a - Feb 26, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    Do share, when did you have the opportunity to vet the tutor and the curriculum? Must be nice to have such inside access.

  14. NatsLady - Feb 26, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    Interesting aspect of being in "game shape." Apparently, Adam Jones was on the bench looking pretty tired, and someone asked him about it. He said, "I came into camp in great shape… I played five innings and I'm exhausted."

  15. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 26, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    40% chance of thunderstorms at 1:00 PM today increasing to 60% by 5:00 PM for the Orlando/Disney area today.Nats sending Harrisburg and Potomac rosters along with Detwiler for todays game.

  16. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 26, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    And apparently liveronions doesn't know of the quality educcational practices of Sylvan Learning Centers. They put public educational systems to shame.

  17. c715e5d6-9d22-11e1-a89a-000f20980440 - Feb 26, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    Greetings from Viera!Re: Drake's education. Depending on the school experience, skipping middle school could be the best thing that happens to a kid. I dropped out of high school, but graduated from college at the top of my class, and have made it to the top of my profession (and my profession does involve social skills, in case you were wondering). Small sample size, but the point is that not all education happens in the classroom. ArVAFan

  18. NatsLady - Feb 26, 2013 at 2:13 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. livernonions - Feb 26, 2013 at 2:15 PM

    "Do share, when did you have the opportunity to vet the tutor and the curriculum? Must be nice to have such inside access."Natsfan1a,Obviously, I don't know who tutors Drake or his curriculum, but I do know that the young man attends school in the winter – which in the context of baseball means November through January — leaving only the fall and spring of each academic year when he's not there. I also know — because the article says so — that he and his father do homework only if time permits after spring training, golfing, and other recreational pursuits. I also know — because the article said so — that both Drake's parents are not big on school and seem to be okay as long as Drake does okay on standardized tests, which are designed to establish minimum achievement, not measure whether a child is being challenged or at all fulfilling his potential. There are thousands of current and former big leaguers who are also parents and I'm aware of no others who have chosen to raise a son this way. It's obvious Drake has loving parents and a wide net of Nationals who adore him, but my point is that at some point, he may be an adult who is not a professional ball player and this educational arrangement does not seem to be giving him a lot of great options to have a fulfilling career as something else.

  20. bowdenball - Feb 26, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    People, if you're the kind of person who likes to go in the internet to disapprove of how complete strangers are raising their children, there's literally hundreds of other message boards where you can do so. It's like the third-most popular subject on the internet, after porn and sports. So do us a favor and keep it out of the two most popular subjects. Thanks.

  21. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 26, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    NatsLady….yes..it has changed.

  22. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 26, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    Bryce is still scheduled but Espinosa (Rymes), Moore (Owings), Desmond (Walters), Marrero (Lombo)and Rendon (Skole) seem to have changed.

  23. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 26, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    I'll be at Disney around 12:30 and post any changes, weather permitting.

  24. Ghost Of Steve M. - Feb 26, 2013 at 2:57 PM

    NatsJack, thanks for the lineup changes!

  25. NatsLady - Feb 26, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    Based on Wagner's article in WaPo, Mattheus' goal for spring training is to improve vs. lefties. So I added him to my on-going contest, and graded him an A- for last night, against lefties (routine ground out, and 2 K's). Deducted 1/2 grade for the quality of the hitters.

  26. NatsLady - Feb 26, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    Mark Bowman ‏@mlbbowman#Braves lineup: Johnson 7 Heyward 9 J. Upton DH Freeman 3 B.J. Upton 8 Uggla 4 Francisco 5 Bethancourt 2 Pena 6…Minor SPSo our minor-leaguers and Det and the Kid get to see the real Barves… No injuries, that's all I want!

  27. Ghost Of Steve M. - Feb 26, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    The Nats need a few more looks of Karns against some top of the lineup hitters. He battled David Wright well and after that mowed everyone down.I'm wondering if Karns can develop his secondary pitches and zoom up the charts for the Nats. Clearly his fastball is a + pitch but he couldn't get his breaker to work but given how its a touch pitch and his heart rate pumping, he can't be really judged on it from last night.NatsJack, what's your opinion of Karns? What is his top 3 pitches?

  28. JaneB - Feb 26, 2013 at 3:37 PM

    Go, Gio!

  29. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 26, 2013 at 3:38 PM

    Ghost…. I'll have to see more of Karns in person to give you any read. He's always been rehabbing when I've seen him in Fall Instructs.I should be able to see him in some of the 20+ ST games I'll get to.

  30. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Feb 26, 2013 at 3:46 PM

    Nice story on LaRoche & Son; thanks for sharing the link, 1a. FWIW IMO = 0, but if he grows up to be a decent human being, that's enough for anybody.

  31. Ghost Of Steve M. - Feb 26, 2013 at 4:26 PM

    Thanks NatsJack!

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