VIERA, Fla. — Gio Gonzalez walked around the Washington Nationals’ clubhouse at Space Coast Stadium as his usual and relaxed, bubbly self on Tuesday morning. He handed out copies of Athletes Quarterly with his picture on the cover to teammates and took the good-natured ribbing that came with showing off his glamour shots. He played catch and made himself comfortable.
His first day in camp was the first time Gonzalez had seen many of his teammates or met the media since his name was linked to a Miami anti-aging clinic thought to be part of a performance-enahncing drug ring.
Gonzalez has cooperated with investigators from Major League Baseball, answering questions by the league, and said Tuesday he feels confident that his name will be cleared when their investigation is complete.
There will be more to come on this later, but below is a transcript of some of Gonzalez’s interview:
On where things are with his involvement: “What’s happening now is that I’ve cooperated with MLB. I’ve done everything they want and I feel strong with their program and what they’re doing. At the end of the day I’m waiting on them.”
On if he feels confident things will turn out favorably for him: “I feel very confident. At the end of the day I’ve never taken performance enhancing drugs and I never will.”
On his reaction when he learned his name was involved in the Miami New Times’ report linking him to Anthony Bosch and the Biogenesis clinic: “It’s tough to say. You’re stunned, you’re shocked. Your name just was brought up out of nowhere. You can’t do nothing about it. You have to wait it out. You have to listen to what’s going on and you can’t jump the gun. You can’t jump to conclusions and at the end of the day you just have to listen and wait patiently.”
On why his name was in the records obtained by the Miami New Times: “There’s no connections other than the fact that my father already admitted he was a patient there, a legitimate patient.
“After that, you know how my father is. If you guys have been around him, all of south Florida, all of baseball knows that my father is the most proud father in baseball. Says hi, tells everyone about his son. That’s the best I can say. Other than that, I have no clue why my name was on that list or in that notebook or anything.
On if he knew his father was a patient there: “No I didn’t. That I didn’t know.”
On if he knew what “pink cream” was, or had ever seen it: “No. No.”
On his cooperation with MLB’s investigation: “I’ve done everything they wanted me to do… At the end of the day, I’m excited for the fact that we have the WBC coming up, we have a great team (here), a healthy team, right now, you’ve got to turn the page already.
“It’s time to move forward. It’s time to look at the positive. We’ve got a great organization that’s looking at the bright side, a bunch of new faces, a lot of things are going good now. Things are starting to change now. Joining the WBC, being here in spring training, seeing some familiar faces, it’s pretty exciting now. It’s time to move on.”
On if this issue could become a distraction for him or his teammates: “No. And that’s why I’m going to do my best just to keep it away from the locker room and cooperate with you guys. I don’t want this to be a distraction to the team. I don’t want any of this to be about me. It’s about the organization, it’s about the team together. This should definitely not be a distraction for the guys.”
On why he decided to play in the WBC: “It was an earlier invitation and I accepted it. I would love to play for my country and represent the United States. Now people will know that I’m actually from here.”
On if he took it as a good sign that Joe Torre was asking him to play for Team USA, given the report, etc.: “Absolutely. If you get a call from Joe Torre you know that something’s going good and you feel comfortable that he believes in you and he wants you to represent him at the top. Everyone has their doubts, everyone has their beliefs, but at the end of the day I’m still playing, I’m still staying positive.”
On if MLB has given him a timetable for when they plan to wrap up their investigation: “No. they made sure to keep that. That’s MLB’s and what they want to do with it. It’s nothing more I can do.”
On if he feels that he has anything to prove to anyone this season: “I don’t think so. I think, two, three years in a row, 15-16-21-game winner, two-time All-Star, I think my resume speaks for itself. Same velocity. I’ve been the same guy every year.
“I’m going to go out there and compete, don’t get me wrong. I’m going to go out there and try to win 25 games this year, but hey, you’ve still got to play. That’s the name of the game… I look at it as I want to compete at the top of my level, I’m going to perform at the top of my level.
“I’m not going to sleep, it’s going to motivate me to work even harder, but do I have to prove anything to anyone? Absolutely not. If I want to prove something to myself and try to get better, I would definitely do that.”