After another rough outing on Saturday afternoon, the Washington Nationals added Gio Gonzalez to the disabled list. Fortunately, Gonzalez’s shoulder did not show any structural damage and is currently only hindered by shoulder inflammation.
Before being added to the DL Gonzalez had suffered through two rough starts in a row. In Oakland, Gonzalez allowed 7 runs over 4 and 1/3 innings while he gave up 5 runs over three innings on Saturday against the Mets. These horrendous starts were cause for concern for the Nationals as Gonzalez lacked his usual command and his arm slot was dropping lower than usual.
Because the injury will only need to be treated with rest, Gonzalez may only miss two starts. His velocity has been strong all season, but the much needed rest should help him regain the control that led to him winning 21 games in 2012.
For the time being, the Nationals added reliever Ryan Mattheus to the 25 man roster. When Gonzalez’s turn in the rotation returns again on Thursday in Pittsburgh, Washington will most likely option one of their relievers to AAA to make room for a fifth starter on the roster.
The two prime candidates to replace Gonzalez in the rotation are Blake Treinen and A.J. Cole though general manager declined to name who would start on Thursday. Treinen has pitched for the Nationals already in 2o14, only giving up 1 earned run in 11.2 innings. Cole is currently pitching for AA Harrisburg, and has a team low ERA of 2.25. In his last start, Cole threw a complete game shutout while striking out 8.
Because Gio Gonzalez will only miss two or three starts, his trip to the disabled list may be a blessing in disguise for the Nationals. The much needed rest will allow Gonzalez to regain his health for the long haul, and will give a young pitcher an opportunity to gain valuable big league experience. Hopefully, the rehab process goes as planned and Gonzalez will be back in Washington within the next three weeks.