Gon­za­lez happy with first out­ing

Ve­loc­ity, lo­ca­tion on dis­play in win

The Washington Times Daily - - Sports - BY AMANDA COMAK

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLA. | The first pitch Gio Gon­za­lez fired as a mem­ber of the Washington Na­tion­als popped into Wil­son Ramos’ glove early Tues­day af­ter­noon and the radar gun read­ing flashed on the score­board be­hind him: 94 mph. His last pitch of the first in­ning clocked in at 95.

Even for a power lefty, that was a lit­tle high.

“I think their guns were juiced a lit­tle bit,” Gon­za­lez said, a wide smile cross­ing his face as he jok­ingly pointed out that he’s usu­ally around 105 mph in his first spring start. “I don’t know if it was re­ally 95, but my adren­a­line was kick­ing. My arm felt live.”

Gon­za­lez, who av­er­aged 92.8 mph on his fast­ball in 2011 ac­cord­ing to fan­graphs.com, worked through the ma­jor­ity of the At­lanta Braves’ pro­jected start­ing lineup for three in­nings with lit­tle is­sue in the Na­tion­als’ 5-2 vic­tory. He and Ramos ap­peared to move seam­lessly, Gon­za­lez shak­ing off Ramos no more than twice.

“He told me be­fore the game he will throw ev­ery­thing I call,” Ramos said, com­ing away im­pressed by Gon­za­lez’s power as well as his curve­ball, which Na­tion­als man­ager Davey John­son called “nasty.”

Gon­za­lez and the six Na­tion­als pitch­ers who fol­lowed were buoyed by a home run from Jayson Werth in the sec­ond in­ning, a two-run dou­ble by Chad Tracy in the third and an­other home run from Mark Derosa in the fourth.

It was Derosa’s first home run since Feb. 28, 2011, against the Mil­wau­kee Brew­ers in spring train­ing. Derosa didn’t homer in 47 reg­u­lar-sea­son games last year as he con­tin­ued to strug­gle with a wrist in­jury.

“I’ve felt it a cou­ple days now,” Morse said, not­ing that the strain does not bother him when he’s hit­ting or run­ning. “My back just felt kind of tight. . . . I asked them, and there’s no rea­son to push it this early.”

Morse de­scribed the strain as feel­ing “like a lit­tle knot” un­der­neath his shoul­der blades and said he’d been ic­ing it un­der the train­ers’ or­ders to al­low the area to “re­lax and set­tle down.” The Na­tion­als will see how Morse is feel­ing Wed­nes­day and go from there.

Be­cause of Morse’s un­ex­pected ab­sence, Bryce Harper started in right field and played all nine in­nings while Brett Car­roll, the orig­i­nal right fielder, started in left.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Na­tion­als left-han­der Gio Gon­za­lez worked three solid in­nings against the At­lanta Braves in Washington’s 5-2 win at Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

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