Since the beginning of an investigation linking Washington Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez to Miami-based clinic Biogenesis which has allegedly supplied performance enhancing drugs to MLB players, all signs have pointed to his innocence. On Tuesday, reports began to surface backing them up.
According to sources from ESPN’s ‘Outside the Lines’, Gonzalez did buy $1,000 worth of supplements from Biogenesis, but none of them were banned substances. Gonzalez has denied being associated with the clinic, but the supplements purchase proves otherwise. However, he has maintained his innocence throughout the investigation and the ESPN story seems to confirm this.
If Gonzalez had been found to have used PED’s he could have been suspended for 50 games. This would have been a major blow to him and the Nationals going into the 2013 season. Despite the severity of the allegations, Washington and Gonzalez planned as though he would be available on opening day. General Manager Mike Rizzo did not seriously search for another starter in case Gonzalez was lost. There is no question that if he thought Gonzalez may be suspended Rizzo would have made a move to bring in another arm.
The next sign that Gonzalez was clean came when Team USA manager Joe Torre invited him to pitch in the World Baseball Classic. Torre is the Vice President of Player Operations for MLB. He works directly under commissioner Bud Selig. If there was any evidence that may have incriminated Gonzalez, Torre would not have invited him to pitch.
Although all signs continue to point to Gonzalez’s innocence, the MLB investigation is still on going. He was just one of the men linked to Biogenesis and Dr. Anthony Bosch. As long as the investigation continues, Gonzalez’s name will be linked to it. The chances of it happening are getting slimmer, but he could still be found guilty.
It is a credit to the Nationals front office that they have shown confidence in Gonzalez from the beginning. They really had no choice. If someone states that they are innocent, as Gonzalez did, then they have to be taken at their word until proven otherwise. Washington had to give Gonzalez the benefit of the doubt and let the league office conduct its investigation.
The local media must be commended also. Washington D.C. is not a baseball city like New York or St. Louis, but the press could have easily run with the Gonzalez accusations and made a huge story out of it. Instead, they gave him a chance to confirm or deny the allegations and let the story play out. This is what good journalists are supposed to do, but sometimes don’t.
So the good vibes coming out of Nationals spring training continue. The team that many feel will challenge for a world’s championship may have avoided its biggest crisis of the season by not losing Gonzalez.