CINCINNATI — In his first six starts, Gio Gonzalez’s hitting prowess garnered almost as much attention as his sterling pitching. So it was somewhat surprising to see the left-hander, who bats right-handed, not even attempt to swing on Friday night.
That was on strict orders from third base coach Bo Porter and manager Davey Johnson, Johnson said Saturday, as Gonzalez is still getting over some soreness in his right (non-throwing) hand.
“Bo Porter and I both agreed,” Johnson said. “And he told him, ‘You’re not allowed to swing.’ His glove hand was still a swollen. We don’t want him to swing and aggravate that thing and maybe cause some problems with his pitching. Plus we had enough offense. But he wasn’t real happy about it.”
Gonzalez aggravated his right hand, and to a lesser extent his left as well, sliding into third base on Saturday afternoon at Nationals Park. The left hand is not an issue (“Obviously, he’s alright,” Johnson said. “His velocity was fine.”) but the right hand soreness gave him a little trouble gripping the bat.
Overall, the issue is considered extremely minor and really doesn’t affect Gonzalez outside of the batters box.
“Little soreness, that’s all it was,” Gonzalez said. “It’s just trying to get a grip of (the bat), but it feels great now. I mean, it felt fine. I didn’t want to go out there and try to swing or anything like that, try to irritate it. I’ve been in there training, doing all my stuff, it’s nothing that really bothers me now. It feels good.”
Gonzalez also admitted it might not be the worst thing in the world for him to learn how to become a better bunter. He got his first bunt down for a successful sacrifice but he struck out trying to bunt in the next two at-bats.
“Just got to learn how to bunt once in a while,” he said. “Can’t go out there thinking ‘Swing hard at every pitch.’ Just have to, once in a while, lay it down, be realistic and become a pitcher again.”