After he struggled to find command of his pitches over 3 2/3 ragged innings Friday night at Class A Potomac, left-hander Gio Gonzalez will make another minor league rehab Thursday in Potomac and remain on the disabled list until at least mid-June, Nationals Manager Matt Williams said.
Gonzalez allowed eight runs on seven hits and, most troubling, four walks. He issued two walks on eight consecutive balls. Gonzalez has been on the disabled list since an MRI revealed inflammation in his shoulder May 9. Gonzalez hoped he would rejoin the Nationals to start Thursday in San Francisco, but he will have to wait.
“A little bit of a rough one last night,” Williams said. “Command wasn’t there. Arm strength is one thing. Last night, he was kind of all over. His command wasn’t what he wanted it to be. We’ll take him to five-ish innings and 80 pitches and see where he’s at.”
When Gonzalez landed on the disabled list, the Nationals spotted inconsistency with his arm slot and release point. The inflammation in his shoulder prevented Gonzalez from repeating his arm motion. Williams said his control problems at Potomac had more to do with his time off than a persistence of inflammation. Gonzalez had never before gone on the disabled list in his career.
“I attribute it to rust, not being in a game situation for an extended period,” Williams said. “That’s why he’s going to go again. If he went out there and threw 65 [pitches] and went out there and carved them up, we could have made the decision to bring him back and have him start. Because it didn’t go the way he wanted it to, it’s good to get him back out there, make sure he feels good about it.”
Barring an unforeseen setback during his start Saturday night, Blake Treinen will remain in Gonzalez’s place in the Nationals’ rotation.
Gonzalez will receive an extra day of rest between rehab starts because he will thrown an extended bullpen session Monday at Nationals Park, Williams said. Pitching Thursday will also allow Gonzalez to remain on track to take Treinen’s place in the rotation; the Nationals’ off day June 16 would make that tricky otherwise.