According to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, Team USA pitching coach Greg Maddux told Davey Johnson today that Gio Gonzalez will make his first start for the squad on March 12 (assuming the team advances to that stage). Kilgore reports that Gio already looks ahead of schedule in camp, and that he is scheduled to make three starts for the Nationals before leaving to join Team USA in his native Miami, Florida.
The news is promising that Gio will get some time with the team prior to departing for World Baseball Classic activities. For one, it will give the coaching staff some time to work out the kinks and clean off the rust prior to the competition, but secondly, it will let him interact with his teammates before leaving. In the event that Gonzalez is indeed suspended for alleged PED use, it will make the situation far less awkward in the clubhouse with Gonzalez already having seen his teammates. Though Washington Post columnist Thomas Boswell wrote on Friday that it will be “quite some time” before a decision is made on Gonzalez, these things also tend to come by surprise.
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