Report: Nationals “pushing hard” to land Gio Gonzalez from Athletics

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Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Nationals are “pushing hard” to acquire left-hander Gio Gonzalez from the Athletics. No word on the specific players being offered by Washington, but Rosenthal hears the two sides are discussing a four-for-one deal.

Gonzalez has drawn interest from several teams this winter. The 26-year-old left-hander is arbitration-eligible for the first time as a Super Two player, but he’s still four years away from free agency. The asking price is naturally expected to be sky high.

It doesn’t appear as though anything is imminent and it’s possible that whoever lost out on the bidding for right-hander Yu Darvish could intensify their pursuit in the next 24 hours. The Blue Jays and Rangers (considered the favorites for Darvish) have both been linked to Gonzalez this offseason.

Brandon Morrow injured his back taking off his pants

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The Cubs’ bullpen got into trouble in the ninth inning on Tuesday afternoon during the first game of a doubleheader. Justin Wilson started the inning with the Cubs leading 3-2, normally a situation for closer Brandon Morrow. Wilson issued a leadoff walk to Austin Barnes, then gave up a single to Justin Turner. Morrow wasn’t warming up, curiously. Wilson ended up giving up a go-ahead two-run double to pinch-hitter Kyle Farmer and the Cubs went on to lose 4-3.

We now know why Morrow wasn’t available. He says his back tightened up taking off his pants early Monday morning, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports. Morrow said, “It’s frustrating any time you can’t get out there, especially when you can’t go for something as stupid as taking your pants off.”

Morrow, 33, has been terrific in the closer’s role this season for the Cubs. He owns a 1.59 ERA with a 25/9 K/BB ratio in 22 2/3 innings. He is also not available for the back end of Tuesday’s doubleheader, but it sounds like he won’t need to go on the disabled list.