Found June 07, 2012 on The Nats Blog:

MikeGonzalezDetroitTigersvTexasRangersthiMEwy7nx2lAt this point in the season, everyone knows and loves the grinning goofball Gio Gonzalez, but another left-handed Gonzalez, who is lesser known to most Nats fans, joined the Washington Nationals pitching staff this week: reliever Michael Gonzalez.

Considered by some as one of the most desired free agents over the winter, Gonzalez has landed with the Nationals after recovering from off-season knee surgery in a move that will make their already talented bullpen even stronger.

So far as a National, Gonzalez hasn’t disappointed. In his first outing during the Sunday match-up against the Atlanta Braves, he pitched a scoreless eighth inning, allowing only one hit on 12 pitches, eight of which he threw for strikes.

He again made an appearance in the eighth inning of the 12-inning marathon against the New York Mets on Tuesday night, throwing just one pitch to Daniel Murphy – a 92 mph fastball – to record the final out of the inning.

Though certainly a very small sample size, that effectiveness is suggestive of what we should expect from Gonzalez. Throughout his 10 seasons as a Major Leaguer, the 34-year-old has posted a 2.93 ERA and has tallied 56 saves in 71 opportunities. He had a banner year in 2006 for the Pirates, going 24-for-24 in saves/save opportunities and ranking ninth in the Major Leagues for number of saves despite his season ending early due to an elbow injury. Throughout his career, Gonzalez has relied mostly on a fastball-slider-changeup combination on about a 62-36-2 percent ratio, and his fastball velocity is clocked at an average 92.5 mph with his slider averaging 82.6 mph.

Gonzalez’s history includes bouncing around to several different teams and struggling with several different injuries, but he has still managed to play a successful 16 years of baseball.

The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Texas native was drafted in the 30th round by the Pittsburg Pirates in 1997. He made his MLB debut in 2003 with the Pirates and he stayed with them until 2007 when he became part of a trade that included swapping him for Adam LaRoche of the Atlanta Braves.

His 2007 season was shut down prematurely after the Braves' management noticed his struggling with his fastball velocity during a game against the Nationals. After that game, he was placed on the disabled list and underwent Tommy John surgery several months later. 

Gonzalez made a healthy return to pitch for the Braves in June of 2008, but he ultimately left them in 2010 for a $12 million deal with the Baltimore Orioles. He was traded from the O’s to the Texas Rangers in 2011 before becoming a free agent and ultimately ending up with the Nationals.

Although Gonzalez has become the fifth lefty on the Nationals’ staff and the fourth in the bullpen, he is likely here to stay. He turned down an invitation to the Rangers’ spring training camp as a non-roster invitee this year, suggesting he is not interested in playing at the minor league level at this point in his career.

This means that the Nationals are most likely going to expand their bullpen to eight relievers to create space for him when Brad Lidge, Ryan Mattheus, and Drew Storen start returning from the DL, as attributed to manager Davey Johnson in the Washington Post.

Gonzalez will appreciate the adjustment, as he joined the Nationals ready to win. He is quoted on MLB.com calling the Nats “obviously contenders,” and identifying pitching for them as “a good opportunity…to win ballgames.” If Gonzalez continues to contribute to getting those wins as he has so far, Nationals fans are sure to warmly welcome the newcomer to their contending team.

THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Nats activate RHP Lidge, put RHP Rodriguez on DL

The Washington Nationals have reshuffled their bullpen, reinstating right-hander Brad Lidge from the disabled list and putt righty Henry Rodriguez on the DL. Lidge is 0-0 with two saves and a 5.14 ERA in seven games with Washington this season. The 35-year-old reliever has missed the past 38 games because of an abdominal injury. Lidge gave up one run in 1 1-3 innings during a two...

Predicting A Healthy Nationals Lineup

The Washington Nationals have dealt with a slew of injuries in the 2012 season, but as time goes on, the Nats continue to say in the mix despite some key offensive injuries to Jayson Werth and Wilson Ramos. Though Ramos will be gone for the rest of the season, Werth is scheduled to return for a playoff push. If you look at the Nationals regular lineup now, it’s a whole lot better...

Bryce Harper delivers first career walkoff hit in 12th, earns Gatorade shower

Nationals 7, Mets 6 (12 innings): Weird game. And so, Bryce Harper delivered the first game winning hit of his career in the 12th inning Tuesday night; and Mike Morse delivered a bucket of Gatorade over Bryce Harper's head. (Screencaps via MASN/TV) Befriend the Nats Enquirer on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

The Nationals Can't Spell Strasburg and the Twins Don't Know Their Players' Names

If you're the Washington Nationals and you've already been widely embarrassed by having your team play a real professional baseball game with the team's name MISSPELLED on the uniform, one would think they would take steps to ensure something like that never happens again. It would also probably behoove the Nationals to make sure that when selling the uniform of the team...

Desmond’s Big Game in Pseudo-Historical Perspective

Bryce Harper may have added to his legend with his game-winning hit in the Nationals’ 7-6 extra-innings victory over the Mets yesterday, but Ian Desmond‘s night at the plate was more remarkable, according to Win Probability Added (WPA). Not only was Desmond’s game-tying double earlier in the final inning worth more WPA than Harper’s game-winning hit (.380 to .349), but his...

Nats’ team store needs spell check for its Stephen Strasburg jerseys (Picture)

I don’t know who Stephen Strasbrug is, but I hear the Nats have a guy named Strasburg who is a pretty good pitcher. I guess when you’re manufacturing thousands of jerseys, you’re going to screw one up here and there. But why does it always seem to happen to players in D.C.? Forearm bash to DC Sports Bog

Jackson shuts down Mets in Nationals' win

WASHINGTON---Adam LaRoche and Edwin Jackson of Washington both ended dry spells Wednesday night -- which helped the Nationals beat the Mets once again. LaRoche broke out of a slump with a three-run homer and four RBIs, and Jackson pitched seven strong innings to help the Washington Nationals to a 5-3 victory over the New York Mets. LaRoche snapped an 0-for-13 slump with his three...

Nationals display players Twitter handles during At-Bats

In the ever changing new media world, sports teams, and their marketing departments, are always looking for a new hook -- that thing that not only keeps their current fans engaged, but that attracts new fans. Many athletes and teams have turned to Twitter, as its fast, easy to use, full of fans and allows direct access to the people in question. Nowadays, you may see a twitter...

Nationals 7, Mets 6 (12 innings)

WASHINGTON -- Bryce Harper hit a bases-loaded single with two outs in the bottom of the 12th inning to give the Washington Nationals a 7-6 victory over the New York Mets on Tuesday night. Scott Hairston had given the Mets a 6-5 lead with a solo homer off Ross Detwiler (4-3) in the top of the 12th, but Washington scored twice in the bottom half to rally for the win. The Nationals...

How we see it goin' down: Nationals - Red Sox series

First Pitch: Friday 7:10, Saturday 4:05, Sunday 1:35 Arms: Friday: Stephen Strasburg, RHP (6-1 2.35 ERA) vs. Felix Doubront, LHP (6-2, 3.75 ERA) Saturday: Gio Gonzalez, LHP (7-2, 2.31 ERA) vs. Daisuke Matsuzaka, RHP (0-0, -.-- ERA) Sunday: Jordan Zimmermann, RHP (3-5, 2.82 ERA) vs. Jon Lester, RHP (3-4, 4.64 ERA)                                    Yard...

Nationals 5, Mets 3

WASHINGTON---Adam LaRoche broke out of a slump with a three-run homer and four RBIs, and Edwin Jackson pitched seven strong innings to help the Washington Nationals to a 5-3 victory over the New York Mets Wednesday night. LaRoche snapped an 0-for-13 slump with his three-run shot in the first inning off New York starter Jeremy Hefner (1-3). That gave Washington (32-22) a 3-0 lead...

Post Game: Nationals 5 – Mets 3

After an excellent start to the month of June, the Mets dropped their 3rd straight game, 2nd straight to the Nationals in Washington.  With the tight NL East, the Mets fell to 4th with a win by the Braves over the Marlins. Jeremy Hefner made his 3rd start of the season, allowing 4 runs (3 earned) in 6 innings on 7 hits.  3 of the runs came in the 1st inning on a home run by Adam...

Pre-Game: New York Mets (31-26) vs. Washington Nationals (32-22)

The Mets and Nationals conclude their 3 game series today in an afternoon game at 1:10 PM.  Todays game can be seen on SNY and heard on WFAN 66. We have a big pitching matchup as R.A. Dickey (8-1, 2.69 ERA) will take the ball against Chien Ming Wang (1-1, 6.43 ERA) who is making just his 3rd start since coming off the DL.  Dickey’s knuckleball has been fantastic this year, including...

Nationals Offense Will Try To Capitalize on Lackluster Red Sox Pitching

After finishing the National League portion of their 32-game tour of the East at 8-6, the Washington Nationals will head to Boston to continue their battle through the most competitive division in the Major Leagues: the American League East. The first-place Nationals will play the last-place Boston Red Sox this weekend, but that doesn’t mean this will be a breezy series for the...

Game 58: Boston Red Sox vs. Washington Nationals

Time: 7:10 PM ET TV/Radio: NESN/WEEI Red Sox (29-28) Nava LF Pedroia 2B Gonzalez 1B Ortiz DH Saltalamacchia C Youkilis 3B Sweeney RF Aviles SS Podsednik CF Pitching: LHP Felix Doubront (6-2, 3.75) Nationals (32-23) Espinosa 2B Harper CF Zimmerman 3B Morse DH LaRoche 1B Desmond SS Nady RF Moore LF Flores C Pitching: RHP Stephen Strasburg (6-1, 2.35)
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.