Gonzalez’s start that wasn’t was pretty impressive

Officially, Gio Gonzalez’s four-inning stint against the Cardinals on Sunday afternoon doesn’t exist. It was washed away, just like the game itself, after four innings.

What happened before, however, left both Gonzalez and Nationals manager Davey Johnson quite pleased.

Gonzalez allowed two singles, fanned a pair and had a 1-0 lead when rains swept through Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla., before the top of the fifth. As the Nationals packed up to head back to Viera, Fla., Gonzalez told reporters he had done what he wanted: work on his fastball, curveball and change.

“We’re moving forward,” Gonzalez said. “There’s a couple of positive things I can take out of today, and a couple of negative things. I definitely want to work on my timing, composure. But again, this is spring training, this is where you got to get your stuff out of the way now. From there, we just keep moving forward.”

In Jupiter, Gonzalez had quite the cheering section. His parents drove up from Miami, and a group of 20 supporters included the baseball team from Gonzalez’s alma mater, Hialeah High School. He said he heard his mother rooting him on.

When Gonzalez was asked if he thought he might be in line to start the Nationals’ April 5 opener in Chicago against the Cubs, he tried to deflect the question, pointing out that he was a newcomer and that other holdovers might be better choices.
“I don’t look that far ahead,” he said.

But a couple more outings like Sunday’s start that wasn’t, and Gonzalez might work his way into the conversation, assuming he’s not already there.

“He looked good,” Johnson said. “The pitch count was unbelievable for four innings. ... He was joking, ‘How many pitches do I got to throw down in the pen?’ I said, ‘We’ll let you pass.’ “

Unofficially, Gonzalez threw 51 pitches, 35 for strikes.

“Can’t do any better than that,” Johnson said, “especially at this time of year.”

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