Washington Nationals’ pitcher Gio Gonzalez accepted an invitation to pitch for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, the twitter account for USA Baseball announced Saturday afternoon. An official for Major League Baseball confirmed that Gonzalez had been asked by manager Joe Torre to participate, and had accepted.
Gonzalez will be the only Nationals player to participate in the World Baseball Classic, though Roger Bernadina is expected to play for the Netherlands, and Danny Espinosa was on the provisional roster for Team Mexico. Bryce Harper was asked to play for Team USA but declined in order to focus on preparing for the Nationals’ season.
Team USA is first scheduled to play in the World Baseball Classic on March 8 in Phoenix and the tournament will take Gonzalez away from Nationals camp as early as March 3. The tournament runs through March 19.
Nationals pitchers and catchers will report to spring training this week.
Gonzalez’s participation in the WBC comes on the heels of the left-hander’s name surfacing in connection to a Miami anti-aging clinic believed to be part of a performance-enhancing drug ring. Gonzalez has adamantly denied any involvement with the clinic or its owner, Tony Bosch.