Tuesday, February 12, 2013

What's on tap for Day 1

USA Today Sports Images
Gio Gonzalez is scheduled to report today and answer questions about Biogenesis.
VIERA, Fla. -- Though plenty of players are already in camp -- I spotted at least a dozen yesterday, and many more were around before I pulled into town around noon -- today is the official reporting date for Nationals pitchers and catchers. And one pitcher's arrival will be especially notable.

Gio Gonzalez is scheduled to report to Space Coast Stadium and is expected to meet with reporters and answer questions about his alleged ties to the Miami clinic under investigation for distributing performance enhancing drugs.

We don't know what exactly Gonzalez is going to say, or how much he's going to say -- he already denied ever taking any PEDs or even knowing Biogenesis chief Anthony Bosch -- but the left-hander plans to address this subject upon his arrival in Viera and then move on to strictly baseball matters.

As I wrote after the initial Miami New Times report, this story has the potential to become a significant distraction for Gonzalez and the Nationals. But if he does indeed address it today and truthfully answers as many questions as he can, it should go a long way toward putting the situation behind him.

There's plenty from a baseball standpoint Gonzalez needs to accomplish early in camp. After agreeing to pitch for Team USA in next month's World Baseball Classic, he'll be leaving the Nationals potentially for more than two weeks, with the American team scheduled to begin workouts in Arizona on March 3. That gives Gonzalez less than three weeks in camp to get himself into game shape, then potentially about 10 days to complete his post-WBC preparation for the regular season.

Gonzalez's spring travel will seem like nothing compared to Roger Bernadina, who after flying to Florida from the Netherlands will depart Feb. 24 for his native country's first-round games in Taiwan. If the Dutch advance from pool play, Bernadina will then head to Japan for the WBC's second round before ultimately returning to the United States.

For now, Gonzalez and Bernadina are the only Nationals scheduled to participate in the event. Danny Espinosa was listed on the preliminary roster for Mexico -- though he grew up in California, his father is of Mexican descent -- but told reporters he has decided to withdraw so he can focus on getting his torn left shoulder ready for the regular season.

Espinosa and Bernadina are two of several position players who have reported early to camp. More of them will start trickling in with each passing day before Friday's official report date, but the Nationals hope to have every pitcher and catcher accounted for today.

Those pitchers and catchers won't hold their first formal workout until Thursday (today is reporting day, tomorrow is physicals day) but many will play catch on their own. These first few days are mostly about guys getting settled in and the Nationals ensuring everyone is physically fit.

As always, I'll be here to chronicle everything in multiple media platforms, with some new additions this season. Along with this blog and CSNwashington.com, I'll be taking on an expanded on-air role for Comcast SportsNet and will have live reports from Space Coast Stadium each night this week at 6 p.m. (so be sure to tune in for that). I'm also starting up another season with ESPN-980 AM and will be making daily appearances on their shows. (I'll update the regular schedule on the left-hand rail once it's finalized.)

And for breaking news and instant analysis, please follow me on Twitter or keep track of my Twitter timeline on the right-hand rail of Nats Insider.

Now that we've taken care of all that housecleaning, I hereby proclaim the 2013 baseball season underway!

56 comments:

baseballswami said...

Aaaaah- it's time!!!!

Rabbit34 said...

If Gio's guilty, his prints will be all over everything and it will be a big distraction and interuption of the season. If Gio is innocent, there will be no prints and an avoidable inconvenience during the season. In summary, Innocent...no problem; guilty...problem. I am just going to enjoy the games, I'm innocent. What is supposed to be, will be.

UnkyD said...

:)

Positively Half St. said...

It's good to get the Gio story over with right away, although I suppose a new group of reporters will rehash the same stuff the first day of the WBC.

baseballswami said...

I think things will be better at the WBC because there will be bigger names and more stories there. I Viera there is less to talk about. Might give Stras a break for once.

NCNatsie said...

Sounds like a busy year for Mark! Congrats on the well-deserved new gigs. Nothing like being with a winner.

DaveB said...

A number of other Nats minor leaguers are also in the WBC. I remember Jimmy Van Ostrand, Adrian Nieto, Mat Torra off the top of my head, plus the one that is interesting is Carlos Rivero, as I would expect him to be trying to compete for the utility INF spot if Danny decides he needs surgery after all. I would have thought he (or the Nats) might have decided he needed to be in camp to make his case, so that might indicate they really do have confidence in Danny's shoulder.

The Retired Journalist said...

What UnkyD said goes for me, too.

MicheleS said...

I love this day.

baseballswami said...

Downright giddy!!

Unknown said...

My true New Year's Day today! Could this be the year?

NatsNut said...

I thought this day would never come. I'm so HAPPY!!!

Gonat said...

Less than an hour!

MicheleS said...

So.. I guess the clock should now be changed to Opening Day

natsfan1a said...

Yay!

I'm guessing that the clock will switch over in, oh, say, 48 minutes and 50 seconds. :-)

Now that we've taken care of all that housecleaning, I hereby proclaim the 2013 baseball season underway!

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Interesting, Buster Olney supposedly will be in Tampa today. I thought his primary purpose was to get an interview with Gio, I guess not.

Maybe Gio is not gripping national news. Sure, I expect his interviews will get picked up nationally but after the NYT article over the weekend this story is losing it's hold.

Section 222 said...

Just think back to spring training in 2010. The Nats have come a long way since then, and so has our favorite beat writer. Congrats Mark, on your busy schedule! Glad we're along for the ride.

bowdenball said...

I know sportswriters love the "distraction" narrative, but is there any evidence whatsoever that players or teams are negatively affected by "distractions." Melky getting popped for PEDs certainly didn't distract the Giants last year. After the BALCO scandal broke, Bonds posted a .341/.529/.749 slash line in 2003 and a ridiculous .362/.609/.812 slash line in 2004, and the Giants made the playoffs on 2003. And so on and so on. A-Rod's steroid story and his admission of prior use came in 2009, and A-Rod had an OPS+ of 138 that year and the Yankees won the World Series.

Based on what's happened in "distraction" season in the last decade, I say bring on the distractions.

NatsJack in Florida said...

I might go over Thursday morning if the weather cooperates. If it's raining at 7:00 AM I'll wait and go over Friday and shiver (40 degrees or so) with everyone else.

Davey's known for cutting things short if the weather is too cold but I'll still venture over.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Olney + ESPN + Yankees Report Date = Tampa.

adventurehouse said...

For me...my occasional PED will be a beer either while sitting in the stands, or on the couch...holding my nose while I tune to MASN. If you've ever held your nose and drink a beer at the same time you'll realize it's difficult

NatsLady said...

Trying to decide if I should break out the Nats gear I put away last fall or wait until the first spring training GAME.

sjm308 said...

Natslady - break it out!!

I wear a different nat's hat every day and my go to jacket is either the home or away "spring/fall" jacket that really is pretty warm. I love to represent our lads each and every day.

NatsLady said...

sjm, I have so many caps, and they are all disorganized. Somewhere I saw a cap rack that hangs on your door. Might go for that... Kept it to earrings and a knit curly W skullcap all winter. I've been saving my jacket for actual games, which might be chilly in April--and October.

sm13 said...

Its the happiest day of the year! Until openning day, at least.

pauloyd said...

Mark,

I know you are the ultimate professional, but it must be gratifying to be one of the few people covering Spring Training for the Nats year after year and have it be such a big story now.

SonnyG10 said...

Oh boy! Less than a minute to go.

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

"In summary, Innocent...no problem; guilty...problem."

As I explained to the judge, I'm not innocent, I just didn't do it.

SCNatsFan said...

WooHoo on the triple zeros in the countdown... which unfortunately gets reset to opening day now. Let the fun begin!

natsfan1a said...

I'm wearing a red nats top as I type, but then I wear my Nats gear all winter. :-)

NatsLady said...

Trying to decide if I should break out the Nats gear I put away last fall or wait until the first spring training GAME.
February 12, 2013 8:41 AM
sjm308 said...

Natslady - break it out!!

I wear a different nat's hat every day and my go to jacket is either the home or away "spring/fall" jacket that really is pretty warm. I love to represent our lads each and every day.
February 12, 2013 8:46 AM

3on2out said...

Ghost:

I agree. The NYT piece seemed to rob Bosch of any real gravitas. He came across as a bit unfocused and borderline incompetent. The article's speculation that then notes might have been nothing more than a marketing plan was interesting. Gio's invitation to play in the WBC and represent the USA would indicate to me we have nothing more than a tempest in the proverbial tea pot.

natsfan1a said...

Okay, so I'm late on this, and apologies if it was already posted, but last week the WaPo had a nice piece about Lombo helping his dad coach HS baseball in the offseason. GGI, guys!

NatsLady said...

Lombo is a really, really nice guy. A couple of my students are acquainted with him and they always say that.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

3on2out said...
Ghost:

I agree. The NYT piece seemed to rob Bosch of any real gravitas. He came across as a bit unfocused and borderline incompetent. The article's speculation that then notes might have been nothing more than a marketing plan was interesting. Gio's invitation to play in the WBC and represent the USA would indicate to me we have nothing more than a tempest in the proverbial tea pot.

February 12, 2013 9:24 AM


From the Tweets I have seen, we know that Gio will be back on Page 1. I think he will say all the right things and hopefully say this will be the last time it will be discussed. Put it to bed.

Theophilus T. S. said...

"The NYT piece seemed to rob Bosch of any real gravitas. He came across as a bit unfocused and borderline incompetent."

This is known as the Genovese Crime Family senility defense. Don't believe it for a second.


Ghost Of Steve M. said...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/nationals-journal/wp/2013/02/12/kyle-lohse-a-possible-contingency-for-nationals-as-gio-gonzalez-insurance/

Kilgore's take on Lohse & Gio. I threw this out there as I know Boras is working on Mr. Lerner.

I don't see Gio getting suspended. Who goes to the bullpen if Lohse was signed?

Nats would give up their 2nd round pick too.

I know the possibility is looming but seems like a long-shot.

NatsNut said...

Detwiler?

I wonder what this kind of move would do to chemistry.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...
I don't see Gio getting suspended. Who goes to the bullpen if Lohse was signed?

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Maybe I am missing the obvious, but if Gio`s name is net to non banned things I could care less.

What am I missing?

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

NatsNut, let's turn it around. Let's say Mr. Lerner is convinced to do it by the persuasive Boras, and he goes to Rizzo and asks him. Would Rizzo do it or would he say no thank you Mr. Lerner save your money.

I have to think Kilgore floated it out there as he has heard the rumors also. Again a long-shot.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

My kindle misses to many letters.

Should read "if Goo`s name is next to a non banned...."

Section 222 said...

And so it begins. Blue skies in Washington, pitchers and catchers in Viera, all is well in the world.

The tune that popped into my head this morning was "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year." So to celebrate the season, I've added a new page to the NIDO Spreadsheet. Anyone who is so inclined (and I know there are alot of creative wordsmiths around here) can add to/or help perfect alternate lyrics. Either Nats-centric or generic baseball references are appropriate.

We can add more verses if necessary.

MicheleS said...

Gio is talking to the beats right now. Twitter is buzzing

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

MicheleS,yes he did. Perfectly answered all questions.

Joe Seamhead said...

Just looked outside here in MD and there are daffodils and catchers and pitchers popping up all over the place!

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

I'm just glad that Gio didn't take the "5th Amendment" as some suggested here. If you have nothing to hide, give the answers and Gio did.

James Wagner ‏@JamesWagnerWP
Gio Gonzalez says he feels "very confident" about his case before MLB. He says he has cooperated with its investigation.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Mark Zuckerman @ZuckermanCSN Gio spoke 15 total minutes, first 5 on Biogenesis, with reporters. Nats PR did not allow cameras.

MicheleS said...

Ghost.. Yes he did. I am guessing that Torre called him AFTER Gio talked to MLB investigators. so that makes me happy.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Gio Gonzalez reiterates he's never taken any PEDs or gone to Biogenesis. "I have no idea how my name got on that list."

Almost exactly as I wrote how he would answer it.

All of his answers were well planned out. Short and concise.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Ghost Of Steve M. said...
sm13, I've heard the same thing that the list is even larger and there were some other names leaked.

Again, I see nothing credible on Gio and all this has done is thrown stink on his life. Its done the same with Nelson Cruz.

Different story with Melky, Grandal and Colon who were all suspended in 2012 for PEDs.

I'm not even sure on ARod. This is very flimsy reporting and too many dotted lines.

February 04, 2013 12:15 PM


I wrote this 8 days ago and before that New York Times article.

I think after the Time article, I was right on point.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

"Do I think I have anything to prove to anyone? Absolutely not. Fifteen wins, 16 wins, 21 wins, a two-time All-Star. I think my resume speaks for itself."

Navy Nats Fan said...

In more important news, is anyone else buying Opening Day Tickets today? Just got 4 in section 315!

The Ego of Steve M. said...

I threw this out there as I know Boras is working on Mr. Lerner.

I'm just glad that Gio didn't take the "5th Amendment" as some suggested here.

Almost exactly as I wrote how he would answer it.

I wrote this 8 days ago and before that New York Times article.

I think after the Time article, I was right on point.

NCNatsie said...

You'd think a person of my advanced years and accomplishments would have the self respect to ignore the pleadings of folks like Section 222, but no, I'm a sucker for punishment.

How about this?

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
All the catchers are catching,
And ball boys are fetching
Immense canvas bags full of gear.
And at infield practice,
The plain simple fact is
The players are thrilled to be here.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

It’s the hap, happiest season of all
All the rookies are looking
To see if they’re booking
A ticket up north at the call
And the whole team is tuning
Their skills and assuming
They’ll be in first place in the fall.
It’s the hap, happiest season of all.

Go Nats!

natsfan1a said...

Very nice, Natsie.

SonnyG10 said...

Very good NCNatsie.

Ron In Reston said...

Outstanding, NCN.

Now it will be in my head all day :)

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