Gonzalez to start tomorrow, LaRoche done for the season

PHOENIX - After some initial indecision about who would start tomorrow in the Nationals’ season finale, Gio Gonzalez has decided to take the ball for Davey Johnson’s last game as Nats manager.

Gonzalez had been initially under the impression that Tanner Roark would start the finale, but Johnson told Gonzalez that he’d like the left-hander to pitch tomorrow to help him ensure that he finishes his managerial career at least 300 games above .500.

After thinking it over, Gonzalez agreed to mentally get it going again and pitch tomorrow against the Diamondbacks.

“I think I’m gonna go out there, and it’d be a great way to honor Davey’s exit,” Gonzalez said. “To be the last (starting) pitcher to pitch for him in his career is truly an honor.

“When you hear it from the old skip, ‘Hey listen, I’d appreciate it if you’d pitch for me,’ you take that with heart. I think that’s why I decided to say, ‘Yeah, I’m gonna go out there and pitch the last game.’ ... You want to make sure to give him a nice exit and gift.”

Gonzalez is 4 2/3 innings from hitting the 200-inning mark, and he’s eight strikeouts from 200 for the season, milestones that he’d like to reach. Tomorrow’s start will give him the opportunity to get to both of those marks, this after he finished last season two outs short of the 200-inning mark.

Meanwhile, Adam LaRoche has been scratched from tonight’s game with left biceps tendinitis, something that flared up when he was hitting in the cage today.

“Just something right in the bottom of the biceps, where the biceps meets the elbow,” LaRoche said. “Just feels a little bit inflamed. Actually felt more yesterday. Started feeling it yesterday, today it went down a little until I went to go hit. Kind of fired up again.”

“It’s something I would push a little harder just swinging in the cage to see if I could get through it if this was a different situation. I just, I don’t want to do anything when it’s really tight to possibly cause damage. Sit and watch.”

Packing up his house in the D.C. area before heading out on the road trip might’ve caused the injury, LaRoche said.

“They say typically when they get this, it’s from lifting. Not necessarily weights, but carrying stuff. It’s obviously the day before we left, and hauling stuff down the stairs all day long, carrying heavy stuff. I don’t know if that’s something that could’ve sparked it or not.”

Both LaRoche and Johnson said LaRoche won’t be in the lineup tomorrow in the season finale.

“He’s done,” Johnson said.

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