Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson turns 70 years old today. After winning the franchise's first division title last year and first playoff appearance, Johnson was given a one year extension to manage the Nationals for the 2013 season. On behalf our readers, we wish Davey a very happy birthday!!!
Other news --- Gio Gonzalez
As you learned yesterday, Nationals' star pitcher Gio Gonzalez has been engulfed in a new performance enhancing drug story. The story originated from a Miami news article yesterday that named Alex Rodriguez, Melky Cabrera, Nelson Cruz, and Gio as customers of a Miami based Biogensis, which has been under investigation by the DEA and Major League Baseball.
Since that story broke, Gio Gonzalez has emphatically denied involvement via his Twitter account.
“I’ve never used performance enhancing drugs of any kind and I never will,” Gonzalez wrote. “I’ve never met or spoken with tony Bosch or used any substance ... Provided by him.anything said to the contrary is a lie.”
And finally, here is the statement from Major League Baseball.
“We are always extremely disappointed to learn of potential links between players and the use of performance-enhancing substances,” the statement read, in part. “These developments, however, provide evidence of the comprehensive nature of our anti-drug efforts. Through our Department of Investigations, we have been actively involved in the issues in South Florida. It is also important to note that three of the players allegedly involved have already been disciplined under the Joint Drug Program. ….
The notation by Biogenesis indicated a $1000 sale of zinc, MIC and Aminorip. When reviewing the MLB Banned Drug list, none of these ingredients appear on the list. Even at that, Gonzalez denied purchasing anything. His father, Max Gonzalez, did indicate that he purchased products from Biogenesis in an attempt to lose weight, but his son purchased nothing.
The MLB released it's list of Top 100 prospects. Four prospects from the Washington Nationals system appears on the list.
2011 first round pick Anthony Rendon was ranked 28th on the list. Rendon was the best offensive bat in the 2011 MLB Draft, but he fell to the Nationals, after being projected for months to be the top pick overall, because of lingering injury concerns. Since being drafted, those injury concerns have come to fruition and Rendon has been unable to stay healthy. The Nats are hoping his injury problems are behind him. Rendon only played in 43 games last season in the Nats system and missed all of 2011. He played the final 21 games at AA Harrisburg where he batted .162 with 3 doubles, 1 triple, and 3 homers. Rendon was assigned to the Arizona Fall League in the off-season and impressed. In 22 games against some of major league baseball's best prospects, Rendon batted .338 with 10 doubles, 1 triple and finished with a .494 slugging percentage and a .436 on base percentage.
CF Brian Goodwin was ranked 34rd overall. The Nats drafted Goodwin in the first round of the 2011 MLB Draft in hopes that he would become their future answer in center field. Goodwin played in the Nats system last season splitting time between A Hagerstown and AA Harrisburg. Combined for the season, Goodwin batted .280 with 26 doubles, 2 triples, and 14 home runs. He finished the season with a combined .469 slugging percentage and added 18 stolen bases. In 42 games at the AA level, Goodwin impressed with a .324 batting average with 8 doubles, a triple, and 5 homers. In the Arizona Fall League, Goodwin recorded a .238 batting average with 6 doubles, 2 triples, and 3 homers. He finished with a .475 slugging percentage.
2012 first round pick Lucas Giolito was ranked 74th on the list. Giolito missed all of last season as he underwent successful Tommy John surgery. Lucas was a highly regarded prospects that fell in the draft becasue of an ulnar nerve ligament sprain in his elbow. That proved worthy as Giolito pitched just one game at the GCL before undergoing to the ligament reconstructive surgery. Given his young age of just 18 years old, it was a risk well with taking for the Nationals.
Pitcher AJ Cole was ranked 91st. As you may recall, Cole was drafted by the Nats in the 4th round of the 2010 MLB Draft. He was one of the highly touted prospects in the Nats system. Washington reluctantly threw Cole into the trade that brough Gio Gonzales to Washington from Oakland in a trade. The Nats reacquired Cole in a three team trade a few weeks ago that sent Mike Morse to Seattle. Cole struggled a bit in A ball for Oakland last season psoting a 6-10 record. He yielded 29 walks compared to 133 strikeouts. The Nats absolutely love his arm and power and will work to get him back to a high level of confidence.
In other news ... former Nats catcher Brian Schnieder has retired.