KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Gio Gonzalez will be limited to 50 pitches today in his final start for the Washington Nationals before he departs for the World Baseball Classic.
Gonzalez’s left arm is in good enough shape to throw 70 pitches, but the Nationals didn’t want to run afoul of WBC rules limiting pitcher use. The exact rule was the subject of confusion.
Manager Davey Johnson cited a rule barring pitchers from the mound for four days after throwing 50 or more pitches in a game. That, however, wouldn’t impact Gonzalez because he’s not scheduled to start for Team USA until March 12.
“I think we could go over 50 and still be fine because he’s going to pitch the 12th,” Johnson said. “(That’s to make sure) there’s no issue with the tournament, somebody complains he threw too many pitches or something.”
Johnson said the Nationals sought clarification from Major League Baseball on the limitations Wednesday.
Another rule, not mentioned by Johnson, appears to limit pitchers to 50 pitches in exhibition games.
Regardless, Gonzalez will throw an extra inning in the bullpen at Osceola County Stadium after his appearance against the Houston Astros to make up for the missed pitches.
And the rule debate would be moot if Team USA doesn’t escape the first round.
— Here are the pitchers who follow Gonzalez today: Ross Ohlendorf, Drew Storen, Ryan Mattheus, Jeremy Accardo.
— Henry Rodriguez is scheduled to pitch Friday, while Rafael Soriano will make his second spring appearance the same day.
— Johnson expects Nathan Karns or Ohlendorf to fill Gonzalez’s rotation spot while he’s at the WBC.
— Adam LaRoche, Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman are the only regulars who didn’t travel to Kissimmee.
Denard Span, CF
Danny Espinosa, 2B
Bryce Harper, LF
Wilson Ramos, DH
Ian Desmond, SS
Chad Tracy, 3B
Tyler Moore, 1B
Kurt Suzuki, C
Corey Brown, RF
Gio Gonzalez, LHP
Tyler Greene, SS
Jose Altuve, 2B
Chris Carter, LF
Justin Maxwell, CF
J.D. Martinez, RF
Nate Freiman, DH
Brandon Laird, 1B
Carlos Corporan, C
Matt Dominguez, 3B
Philip Humber, RHP