The invite of pitcher Gio Gonzalez to pitch in the World Baseball Classic for Team USA by manager Joe Torre is a good sign for Washington Nationals fans. It means that those inside MLB feel that Gonzalez will not be suspended for using performance enhancing drugs and will be available for the WBC and regular season.
Gonzalez’s name has been linked to a Miami anti-aging clinic and its founder Anthony Bosch. Bosch is under investigation for providing PED’s to MLB players. There has been no evidence uncovered that Gonzalez bought PED’s from Bosch or used them. However, his name was found on records kept by Bosch. Until the investigation is complete, Gonzalez’s status for 2013 will be up in the air.
Team USA will begin play in the WBC on March 8. The tournament runs through March 19. Gonzalez will report to spring training on February 12. He will stay with the Nationals until March 3, when Team USA practice begins.
The reason that Gonzalez being invited by Torre is a good sign is connected to Torre’s position as the vice president of player operations for MLB. Torre works directly for commissioner Bud Selig in this capacity. This means that if anyone knows whether Gonzalez is in danger of being suspended Torre does. One would have to think that if there was any chance that Gonzalez would be suspended then Torre would not have invited him to pitch for Team USA.
For Nationals fans, there could not have been a better sign than to see Torre invite Gonzalez to pitch in such an event. Expectations for Washington are high going into 2013, and the fans are counting on having Gonzalez in the starting rotation come opening day. He is their best returning pitcher after posting a 21-8 record last season. The Nationals will begin spring training with a completely healthy pitching staff led by Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg. Some consider Washington’s rotation to be the best in baseball.
If Gonzalez were suspended for any length of time, the Nationals would be at a loss as the team has only five legitimate starting pitchers. Washington fans know this and are hoping that there is nothing in the MLB investigation that implicates him. If there is, the Nationals could potentially lose 20 victories and a shot at winning the NL East.
After hearing Gonzalez’s name linked to Bosch and PED’s, Washington fans needed a reason to believe in him. Torre may have given them the best one yet by inviting him to pitch for Team USA. Nationals’ fans may now be able to relax, breathe a sigh of relief and go into the upcoming season optimistic.