Gio Gonzalez may be looking forward to just stepping on the mound.
Some production from the bats would be a welcome change.
After being named in a report involving an investigation about performance-enhancing drugs, Gonzalez attempts to win for the first time in a month and help the Washington Nationals take this three-game series with the New York Mets on Thursday night.
Gonzalez (3-3, 3.64 ERA) was among the names revealed in a report involving an MLB investigation of players linked to an anti-aging clinic in Miami. As many as 20 players could be suspended for using PEDs, but the left-hander is expected to avoid punishment since he's linked to legal substances.
"We came into spring training with this kind of cloud over the team, and Gio came in and took the reins and explained exactly what happened," reliever Tyler Clippard , who is also the team's union player representative, told the team's official website. "He wanted to make sure that he explained it to his teammates, which he did. I think he explained to the media just as well as he explained it to us.
"For me, knowing Gio, knowing the kind of guy that he is, I believe him wholeheartedly. He has done it the right way, in my opinion."
Gonzalez, who finished third in NL Cy Young Award voting last year, has been superb over his last five starts. He's compiled a 2.14 ERA while limiting opponents to a .190 average and one homer, but is 0-1 since he's been backed by one run in four of those outings.
That was the theme again Saturday, when he yielded one run and three hits with seven strikeouts in seven innings of a 2-1 loss in 10 at Atlanta. Despite the offense's struggles, Gonzalez isn't faulting his teammates.
"I'm proud of these guys," he said. "They worked their tails off. They do it every game. I'm not disappointed at all. They're playing their hearts out."
Offense hasn't been an issue over Gonzalez's last four starts against the Mets (23-33), since he's 3-0 with a 2.78 ERA while being backed by an average of 8.3 runs. He needed the help April 20, when he allowed five runs with four walks in four innings of a 7-6 win at New York.
The Nationals, however, have batted .197 and scored 11 runs in losing four of their last six games.
Ryan Zimmerman , the team leader with 28 RBIs, is 4 for 25 over that stretch while stranding six runners and going 0 for 3 with them in scoring position.
The Nationals (29-30) had 10 hits - five doubles - Wednesday, but went 2 for 13 with four strikeouts with runners in scoring position to fall 10-1 to the Mets after taking the series opener 3-2 a day earlier.
New York halted a four-game slide Wednesday, and is trying to build momentum by giving Shaun Marcum (0-6, 5.71 ERA) his eighth chance at his first victory. His start to the season is the worst by a Met since Mike Pelfrey went 0-7 in 2007.
Marcum, though, isn't entirely to blame. The veteran right-hander has been backed by an average of 2.6 runs, and he didn't get any while allowing four runs in 6 2-3 innings of Friday's 5-1 loss at Miami.
Marcum is 1-0 with a 2.77 ERA with 14 strikeouts in 13 innings over two career starts against the Nationals.
Marlon Byrd is looking to build on his two homers and three RBIs from Wednesday. The right fielder is 7 for 19 (.368) with four homers while plating eight runs in seven road games.
|New York Mets|
|May 30, 2013||Jonathon Niese||Day-to-Day||Left shoulder tendinitis|
|May 30, 2013||Ruben Tejada||15-Day DL||Right quad strain|
|May 29, 2013||Ruben Tejada||Day-to-Day||Left game - quad injury|
|May 14, 2013||Scott Atchison||15-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
|May 09, 2013||Jeurys Familia||15-Day DL||Right elbow surgery|
|April 29, 2013||David Wright||Day-to-Day||Stiff neck|
|June 03, 2013||Danny Espinosa||15-Day DL||Broken bone in right wrist|
|June 01, 2013||Stephen Strasburg||15-Day DL||Strained right lat|
|May 31, 2013||Stephen Strasburg||Day-to-Day||Strained right lat|
|May 27, 2013||Bryce Harper||15-Day DL||Left knee bursitis|
|May 26, 2013||Bryce Harper||Day-to-Day||Left game - Sore left knee|
|May 24, 2013||Danny Espinosa||Day-to-Day||Broken bone in right wrist|
WASHINGTON (AP) -- For the New York Mets , Thursday's rainout postponed an experiment to try Justin Turner in left field.
For the Washington Nationals , the downpours were a welcome sight.
"Well, this is good," said Washington manager Davey Johnson, looking at the weather radar on the computer monitor in his office. "And even one more rainout would be better."
The Mets-Nationals series finale succumbed to Mother Nature on Thursday night before a pitch could be thrown. The game will be made up as part of day-night doubleheader on July 26.
This rainout could be the opening salvo of nasty weather affecting both teams over the next few days. With Tropical Storm Andrea headed north, the teams' Friday-Sunday series - the Nationals host Minnesota, the Mets are home against Miami - could feel the brunt, so the announced changes in their pitching rotations could end up being, well, all wet.
Not that the Nationals mind. The rainout means they don't have to promote a starter for Saturday's game in place of Stephen Strasburg , who was placed on the 15-day disabled list this week with a strained lower back muscle. Thursday's starter, Gio Gonzalez , gets moved back to Friday and Nathan Karns gets pushed from Friday to Saturday.
Jordan Zimmermann would then pitch on regular rest on Sunday. All weather permitting, of course.
"With the number of guys we have on the DL, this is a welcome call," Johnson said. "And then not having to add somebody else, another starter, and then we've got an off-day on Monday. So we would have just really made a bunch of guys move around. This is much better. So I'm happy about it."
The Mets plan to keep Matt Harvey as their starter Friday, with Shaun Marcum moved from Thursday to Saturday. Jonathon Niese was scheduled to rejoin the rotation Saturday after missing one start with a sore shoulder, but now he'll have at least one extra day to make sure he's healthy.
The most intriguing name on the Mets' lineup sheet Thursday was career infielder Turner, listed as leading off and playing left field. Turner made his first career appearance in the outfield May 8 against the Chicago White Sox when he took over in left after entering the game as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning.
Turner has appeared in 37 games this season, including starts at all four infield positions. He's hitting .288 with six RBIs and a .318 on-base percentage.
"We've been losing games because we can't score," manager Terry Collins said before the game. "So I want to see if we can get the offense going."
Collins also said he wanted to rest regular left fielder Lucas Duda , who has been bothered by a tight quadriceps muscle. The manager did not speak to reporters after the game, so it was unclear if he would start Turner in left field against the Marlins.
But the manager felt confident about the move, noting before the game that he gave Turner some work at left field during spring training.
"He can catch them in practice," Collins said. "He catches them in batting practice and he runs them down. Speed's a little different when the game time starts, so we'll see. The ball's going to find you. We've seen it everywhere."
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