In a recent Miami New Times report on performance-enhancing drugs, Washington Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez was linked to a man who has allegedly supplied them to big name players from Alex Rodriguez to Melky Cabrera.
According to the paper, a self-styled biochemist by the name of Anthony Bosch distributed human growth hormone, synthetic testosterone and other PED’s to MLB players. Most of the men implicated are Latin American. Gonzalez is mentioned five times in records kept by Bosch, including a charge for $1,000. However, it is Gio’s father, Max Gonzalez, who says he was the one working with Bosch to lose weight.
Though there is no hard evidence that Gonzalez dealt with Bosch or took PED’s, having his name mentioned is not good for him or the Nationals organization. If it is deemed that Gonzalez did purchase PED’s from Bosch and used them, he could be suspended for a good part of the 2013 season. Gonzalez can not afford to have the black mark of PED’s against his name and Washington’s season would take a dramatic turn if he is suspended.
Gonzalez came in a trade from the Oakland Athletics last winter, and became the staff ace when Stephen Strasburg was shut down after pitching 160 innings last September. Gonzalez became the Nationals first 20 game winner last season as he helped lead them to the NL East pennant. Washington was so happy with his performance that they gave him a contract extension through 2016.
The Miami News reports that the Bosch report could grow as big as the BALCO scandal which put a black mark on the career of Barry Bonds. If this happens, then there is a chance that Gonzalez may get caught up in the web and suspended. At the moment it is believed that the investigation is centered more on Bosch and his business than the players mentioned.
For the Nationals and their fans just coming off of an upbeat Fanfest weekend, news of Gonzalez being implicated could not have come at a worse time. The Nats are finally starting to gain a foothold with fans in D.C. and need to keep going in a positive direction. Gonzalez is well liked in the clubhouse and considered a fan favorite. From a team and public relations standpoint, it would be a setback for Washington if there is any evidence uncovered of PED use.
It is hoped by everyone that Gonzalez is innocent of any wrong doing. Until more evidence is uncovered, it must be presumed that he is. The Nationals and their fans will certainly go into spring training expecting Gonzalez to be with the team on opening day.
Unfortunately, there is a chance that they could lose him some time during the season which would disappoint everyone from Gonzalez to the Nationals and their fans.