Gonzalez in the mix for season opener?
Johnson not ready to reveal rotation
JUPITER, FLA. | Gio Gonzalez and his familial entourage rolled into Roger Dean Stadium around 8:30 a.m. Sunday. They turned out more than 20 strong to watch the Hialeah, Fla., native in his second spring start — from his parents, Max and Yolanda, to aunts, uncles, cousins and the Hialeah baseball team he helps sponsor and coach.
It was nothing compared to what the Gonzalez clan expects when the Washington Nationals visit the Miami Marlins this season, but he could hear them all cheering from their perch atop the stands.
“Are you kidding me? My parents, I had to tell them, turn it down a notch,” Gonzalez said, his smile hinting at his prideful embarrassment. “We’re all grown men here. This ain’t the Khoury League anymore.”
It’s not in his home state like Sunday’s game was, but if Gonzalez were to pitch on Opening Day in Chicago, 24 days from now, his ticket-request line may just explode.
Gonzalez was superb against the St. Louis Cardinals, needing just 51 pitches to get through four innings before rain halted the game in the middle of the fourth with the Nationals up 1-0. His curveball was sharp from the get-go, striking out his first batter Shane Robinson swinging on a pitch that the bottom dropped out of, and he didn’t let down from there.
It was the latest in a string of strong performances from the Nationals’ starters as they near the end of their second full turn through the rotation. Jordan Zimmermann will be the final starter to make his second appearance
amples in recent years. These miscalculations happen, scouts say, because quarterbacking is such a mysterious enterprise, so dependent on unmeasurables (e.g. heart, leadership and, increasingly it would seem, a cranium that’s concussion-proof).
So the Redskins aren’t the only club that’s under the gun. Heck, a decade from now, the Cleveland Browns’ front office might be donning hair shirts because they didn’t offer enough for the second pick — and let Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen swoop in and grab it. There’s much at stake for people in this draft, as much as there’s been in quite a while.
Speaking of “a decade from now,” that’s the benchmark, isn’t it? Everybody’s trying to find a quarterback who can play for them for 10 years. And that’s what the Redskins are hoping Griffin can do. But you forget how rare a QB like that is. In the free agent era (1993-present), only Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, Brady, Mcnabb and Matt Hasselbeck have started for one team for 10-plus full seasons. Five others (Dan Marino, John Elway, Troy Aikman, Jim Kelly and Warren Moon — all Hall of Famers) had streaks of 10 years or longer that began in the ’80s and overlapped with the era.
If RG3 can hold down the Redskins job for a decade, it would put him in awfully accomplished company. He’d be the biggest thing to hit the town since air conditioning.
The Redskins traded three first-round draft choices and a second-round pick for the chance to select Robert Griffin III.