“If you get a call from Joe Torre, you know something is going good,” Gonzalez said. “You feel confident that he believes in you, and he wants to represent you at the top of your peak. Everyone has their doubts. Everyone has their beliefs. At the end of the day, I’m still staying positive.”
In a show of his relaxed demeanor, Gonzalez joked about playing for Team USA: “Now people will know I’m actually from here.” He also reminded reporters they should feel free to share his Instagram handle — “giog47” — the better to promote the clothing line he owns.
Gonzalez flitted around the Nationals’ clubhouse as jovial as ever. Reliever Cole Kimball teased him about getting a haircut. He yelled to catcher Kurt Suzuki, “Zuk! I got something for you!” He then walked over to Suzuki’s locker and handed him a copy of Athletes Quarterly magazine — with himself on the cover. On a table, teammates had strewn black-and-white pictures of Gonzalez’s photo shoot from the magazine.
“I’m going to do my best to keep it away from the locker room and cooperate” with reporters, Gonzalez said. “At the end of the day, I don’t want this to be a distraction to the team. I don’t want any of this to be about me. At the end of the day, it’s about the team, the organization.”
Gonzalez stressed the importance of leaving the Biogenesis matter behind as he begins preparation for the 2013 season. “It’s time to move on,” he said.
Last year, in his first season with the Nationals, Gonzalez went 21-8 with a 2.89 ERA and 9.3 strikeouts per nine innings, the most in the National League. His performance garnered a third-place finish in NL Cy Young Award voting.
Gonzalez was asked if he felt he needed to prove anything in the wake of the New Times report.
“I don’t think so, man,” Gonzalez said. “Three years in a row – 15-, 16-, 21-game winner. Two-time all-star. I think my résumé speaks for itself. Same velocity. I’ve been the same guy every year. . . . It’s just going to motivate me to work even harder. Do I have to prove anything to anyone? Absolutely not. The only thing is if I want to prove something to myself.”