District Daily: Gio ‘Ready to Go’, Nats Showing Improved Glovework


May 4, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Washington Nationals catcher

Sandy Leon

(41) and starting pitcher

Gio Gonzalez

(47) walk to the mound together for the start of a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies defeated the Nationals 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Start off your day with some great Washington Nationals articles from around the web:

Gio ‘ready to go’ following second rehab start

(Daniel Popper, MLB.com)

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — In his first rehab start for Class A Advanced Potomac on June 6, Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez (shoulder inflammation) was rocked for eight earned runs on seven hits, including a grand slam, over 3 2/3 innings. The Wilmington Blue Rocks, the Class A Advanced affiliate of the Royals, attacked early-count fastballs with an aggressive approach at the plate while Gonzalez struggled with command and issued four walks.

Gonzalez learned from that experience in his second rehab start Thursday night against the White Sox Class A Advanced affiliate, Winston-Salem, at Pfitzner Stadium. He focused on throwing first-pitch curveballs for strikes and varying his pitch selection to keep hitters on their toes.

The result was a much-improved performance from Gonzalez, who has been on the 15-day disabled list since May 18. The left-hander threw 79 total pitches, 45 of them for strikes, and allowed just one earned run on two hits over four innings while striking out seven. Read full article here.

After shaky start, Nats showing improved glovework

(Ryan Hood, MLB.com)

SAN FRANCISCO — At his introductory news conference last fall, manager Matt Williams made it clear he wanted strong defensive play to be the backbone of his team. He even created a new position on his coaching staff, hiring Mark Weidemaier to coordinate the Nationals’ defensive alignments.

After a frustrating, mishap-filled start to the season, the defense has improved of late, perhaps none more so than Wednesday’s diving catch-filled win over the Giants.

“I think guys have just settled into the season more. It’s cold earlier, cold weather’s a factor,” Williams said before Thursday’s series finale.” Read full article here.

The Washington Nationals are rolling, but more change is in the air

(Steve Engbloom, Call to the Pen)

Some time back, I authored a post about how the National League’s preseason division favorites were struggling. Well, there’s one that over the past couple of weeks has played some impressive baseball. That team is the Washington Nationals.

Since the calendar flipped over the June, the Nats sport a record of 8-2, best in the majors. The two losses: one at the hands of Yu Darvish (no embarrassment there) and the other was an 11-inning San Diego Padres walk-off win.

Of the eight wins, the last five have come during the Nationals current road trip. They took two of three in San Diego and have won the first three (of a four-game series) against the San Francisco Giants. The other three wins came via a three-game sweep of the now-hapless Philadelphia Phillies. Read full article here.