Weeks after his name was tied to a South Florida clinic that reportedly supplied performance-enhancing drugs to baseball players, Washington Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez accepted an invitation to pitch for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic next month.
Gonzalez, 27, denied having any connection with Biogenesis, which reportedly supplied PEDs to New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, among others.
The Team USA rotation already included right-hander R.A. Dickey, the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner who is now a member of the Toronto Blue Jays, plus Texas Rangers left-hander Derek Holland and San Francisco Giants right-hander Ryan Vogelsong. Detroit Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander is said to be weighing an offer to join the team.
The U.S. opens WBC play March 8 against Mexico in Phoenix. The event concludes with the championship game March 19 in San Francisco.
In his first season with the Nationals last year, Gonzalez led the NL in wins and in strikeouts per nine innings. He finished 21-8 with a 2.89 ERA in 32 starts, striking out 207 in 199 1/3 innings.
Washington acquired Gonzalez in a December 2011 deal that sent left-hander Tommy Milone, catcher Derek Norris and two pitching prospects to the Oakland A's.