Gio Gonzalez says he’s ready to rejoin the Nationals

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Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez was knocked around for eight runs on seven hits and four walks over 3 2/3 innings last Friday in his first minor league rehab start with High-A Potomac. He saw some improvement tonight.

Gonzalez, who is working his way back from shoulder inflammation, allowed just one run and struck out seven batters over four innings for High-A Potomac. While he walked four batters, he told James Wagner of the Washington Post that it was a byproduct of him working on his offspeed pitches. The important part is that he felt good and got stretched out to 79 pitches. The southpaw feels “ready to go” and lines up to rejoin the Nationals’ rotation next week.

Gonzalez, 28, posted a 4.62 ERA and 53/20 K/BB ratio in 50 2/3 innings across nine starts prior to landing on the disabled list last month.

Rays’ Erik Neander named Executive of the Year

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At the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona on Monday, Rays GM Erik Neander was named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award for the 2019 season. The Yankees’ Brian Cashman was the runner-up while the Athletics’ Billy Beane and the Twins’ Derek Falvey tied for third place.

Neander has worked for the Rays since 2017 but has operated in his current role since November 2016, taking over for Matthew Silverman who was promoted to president of the Rays alongside Brian Auld.

The Rays had, by far, the lowest payroll in baseball at $53.5 million, according to USA TODAY. Neander’s peers voting him Executive of the Year on the same today the league had to curtail its awarding of a prize belt to the team that suppressed salaries the most in arbitration is… certainly interesting timing.

At any rate, Neander’s Rays went 96-66 in 2019, finishing in second place in the AL East behind the 103-59 Yankees. The Rays claimed the second AL Wild Card and defeated the A’s to earn entry into the ALDS where they lost in five games to the Astros. It was the Rays’ first playoff appearance since 2013 and their regular season win total was second-most in franchise history behind the 2008 team (97).