Impact of the newest report on Gonzalez, Biogenesis

VIERA, Fla. - Some might wonder whether yesterday's ESPN report claiming Gio Gonzalez did not receive performance-enhancers from Biogenesis, a Miami-area anti-aging clinic, will have any effect on Gonzalez as the Nationals lefty prepares for the season.

Will it lift a weight off Gonzalez's shoulders? Will the report get rid of a distraction that has lingered around the Nationals' clubhouse for the last week and a half, since large clusters of players started filing into camp?

Those two questions imply that there had been a weight on Gonzalez's shoulders or that it had been something of a disturbance to the Nationals in the first place. And at least outwardly, neither has been the case early this spring.

Gonzalez has been the same guy this camp as he was all of last year, bouncing around the clubhouse, joking with teammates and keeping things light on the practice fields.

It's impossible to know how he's reacted internally to the Miami New Times report that came out in late January, linking Gonzalez, among other major league players, to Biogenesis and the man running the clinic, Tony Bosch.

One could imagine that being labeled a cheater by a group of critics hasn't been pleasant, but Gonzalez has insisted all along that he's done nothing wrong, and has said that the link to Biogenesis won't affect his preparation this spring whatsoever.

If Gonzalez is feeling any stress as a result of the ties to Biogenesis, he's done well to hide it from those around the Nationals' spring facilities.

Additionally, Gonzalez's teammates have been nothing but supportive, with some coming out and openly saying that they didn't buy the link between the 27-year-old left-hander and performance-enhancers.

This story hasn't been a daily topic of conversation in the clubhouse. Far from it. The Nationals are going about their business and leaving all of the Biogenesis stuff on the outside.

While the ESPN report seems to support Gonzalez's claims that he did not purchase performance-enhancers from Biogenesis, it's important to point out again that the report does not completely clear Gonzalez's name.

The report cites two sources familiar with Bosch's operation as saying that Gonzalez did not purchase banned substances and that he is the only player linked to Biogenesis thus far that did not receive performance-enhancing drugs, but this is just another report based off information provided by anonymous sources.

Major League Baseball's investigation into Biogenesis is the one that matters here, not ESPN's and not the Miami New Times'. Obviously, MLB will take into account all factual evidence uncovered and will try and confirm the reports put out by these two outlets, but the league won't stop looking into Gonzalez's involvement with Bosch and Biogenesis just because of ESPN's reporting.

That said, this is certainly good news for Gonzalez and the Nationals, and if MLB is able to find similar information clearing Gonzalez of any wrongdoing, then there would be no reason to consider any punishment necessary.

The ESPN report must come as welcome news at the Nats' facilities as the team gets ready for the first live batting practice sessions of spring this morning.

Not that it was seeming to be much of a distraction to Gonzalez or the Nationals in the first place.

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