After getting traded from the Oakland Athletics in a blockbuster deal prior to the season, Gio Gonzalez had a breakout campaign for the Washington Nationals last year. He has long been considered an extremely talented pitcher with boundless potential. On Oakland, his consistency wavered at times. However, following the trade to the Nationals, Gonzalez turned his potential into elite production.
Unfortunately, in recent weeks, controversy has surrounded him due to a reported connection to an unscrupulous clinic in Miami. The establishment claimed to be an anti-aging clinic, however the former owner of the clinic is now allegedly linked to performance enhancing drugs. Along with Gonzalez, a number of other baseball stars were reportedly connected to the clinic including Alex Rodriguez, Nelson Cruz, Jesus Montero and Melky Cabrera.
Despite the connection, Gonzalez claims to be unaffected by the rumors as he readies for the 2013 baseball season.
“It hasn’t affected me at all,” Gonzalez exclusively told EveryJoe.com.
Gonzalez has firmly denied any wrongdoing.
“At the end of the day, I’ve never taken performance-enhancing drugs and I never will,” the pitcher said on the first day of spring training.
Rather, Gonzalez states it is actually his father with the connection to the scandalous clinic.
“My father already admitted that he was a patient there,” he explains, “a legitimate patient.”
At spring training, the 27-year-old hopes to get even better. But after the numbers he put together in 2012, doing so will be no easy task. Last season for the Nationals, Gonzalez had a record of 21-8 with a sparkling 2.89 ERA to go along with 207 strikeouts in 199.1 innings. His 21 wins were the most in all of baseball. Those accomplishments were enough for Gonzalez to finish third in the 2012 NL Cy Young Award race behind R.A. Dickey and Clayton Kershaw.
Riding Gonzalez’s left arm, the Nationals advanced to the postseason for the first time since the team moved to Washington. At 98-64, the team sported the best regular season record in either league. The hurler expects similar success in 2013.
“Of course,” Gonzalez told us. “We are number 1!”
The Nationals ultimately lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in the playoffs. Despite the setback, many baseball pundits are picking the up-and-coming Nationals as a World Series favorite.
Outside of staying in shape, the native of Florida found time over the offseason to spread the word about his new apparel collection called The House of Leagues. What was his inspiration for the collection?
“To create a collection for men, women, and children that are both affordable and fun for the entire family to wear — with a variety of tops, jeans, to complete an entire fashion collection,” Gonzalez explained to EveryJoe.com.
He has remained hands-on with The House of Leagues.
“I was very involved from start to finish,” he told us exclusively. “I created all of the designs and worked closely with the manufacturing team to create the garments.”
With spring training getting underway, Gonzalez is excited to show his teammates The House of Leagues apparel collection.
“Hopefully I can introduce them soon!”
Learn more about The House of Leagues at TheHouseofLeagues.com and on their Facebook page. Keep up with Gio Gonzalez on Instagram @giog47 and Twitter @GioGonzalez47. Also check out the Facebook page for his charity, Gio Gonzalez Foundation, which is a non-profit that supports children and families in need of medical assistance.