Despite rough outing, Gonzalez felt rehab start was progress

Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez had his first rehab start for high Single-A Potomac on Friday night. Gonzalez allowed eight earned runs in 3 2/3 innings, but Potomac rallied with five runs in the ninth to stun Wilmington 11-10.

Despite getting roughed up, Gonzalez said his arm and shoulder feel good after the start.

"Good, really good," Gonzalez told reporters. "It was more fatigue. just (my) body trying to get back to where I want it to be. Arm felt great. Just need to get back to throwing a little more, but I will be fine."

Does that mean Gonzalez is heading back to the team? That's up to pitching coach Steve McCatty, he said.

"I will leave it up to him," Gonzalez said. "I will call and talk to him through the phone. See what he wants and see what he feels.

"But, again, I am just down here working on things. I got a little flat at the end. Again, working my way back up. First two innings were great. After that, ... you could see that I started dying out a little bit, arm got a little flat. You got to give them credit. That's an aggressive team. They know you are going to go up there and pound the strike zone, work on some things."

Gonzalez said manager Matt Williams also wants to know the lefty's opinion as to whether or not he is ready to return.

"Matt's more about how I feel," Gonzalez said. "If I am ready to go, if I feel good, if my arm slot feels great, that's again what Matt feels. That is something I will talk to him and Cat, find out what they think, their opinion. Obviously, I am not going to let an outing like this affect my mentality and confidence. I am just going to continue to feel good about where my arm is. Obviously, they are not worried about results.

But Gonzalez confirmed that the eight runs weren't because his shoulder was sore.

"Body started dying out a little bit," Gonzalez said. "That's exactly it. My first two innings, (I) was on top of the ball, right where I wanted to be, (with the) curveball, changeup. But then it started going flat. They started seeing that. They were patient and put the bat on the ball. That's what they were supposed to do."

He also said it takes work in rehabbing because he had to shut everything down for a few days and then get restarted.

"It is definitely a work in progress," Gonzalez said. "Going from spring training, building your way up to shutting it down to then going back up again. You got to make the wheels go, you got to turn them again and find where you are at. But, again, it is just good to know my body feels good, my arm feels good. Just got work from there and find a way to stay energize and stay up.

"It is good that it happened now. The team right now is getting hot. I want to jump in at the right time. Get everyone back in the lineup, once we slot Bryce (Harper) back in there, try to go out there and keep the ball down."

Gonzalez is hopeful he can rejoin the Nats in San Francisco. But if there is another rehab start, he is fine with that. It depends on how he feels today. If every thing feels good, he said he could fly to the West Coast on Monday.

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