The Washington Nationals will be in the nation's capital this weekend for NatsFest and a few of the players: Kurt Suzuki, Gio Gonzalez and Denard Span were on the airwaves in D.C. this afternoon to talk about the upcoming season and getting over the end of the 2012 campaign...
Over the last month-plus of the 2012 campaign, Washington Nationals' catcher Kurt Suzuki put up a .301/.355/.482 line for the Nats, and in the first postseason run of the 29-year-old, six-year veteran's career, the former Oakland A's catcher was 4 for 17 with 2 RBIs in the NLDS with St. Louis. Suzuki was behind the plate for the entirety of the Nationals' Game 5 collapse, singling in the bottom of the eighth to make it 7-5 before the Cardinals came back in the top of the ninth. The Nats' catcher, who's likely to start the year as the no.1 backstop with Wilson Ramos working his way back from knee surgery, told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s Holden Kushner and Danny Rouhier that he was looking forward to getting back on the field and forgetting the feeling of losing Game 5:
"It's definitely a tough feeling," Suzuki said, "Any time you watch a little bit of highlights of baseball, you turn on the MLB [Network] or something and you just kind of watch some of the games, watch some highlights of some games, watch transactions and stuff, that you think about what happened in Game 5. And that still has a fire burning under me and that's not something that I want to remember. I think it just makes you that much more motivated. That was kind of the motivation going into this offseason. Use that as experience and get that fire under you still. It's still burning. It's still ready to go and I want to go out there and the quicker you get on the field, the better it will be so I can't wait to get out there."
• Listen to Kurt Suzuki talk about Dan Haren and more with 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s Holden Kushner and Danny Rouhier HERE.
21-game winning left-hander Gio Gonzalez started Game 5 of the NLDS with the Cardinals, and gave up five hits, four walks and three runs in 5.0 IP over which he threw 99 pitches, leaving the game with a 6-3 lead after giving up two runs in the fifth, one on a bases-loaded wild pitch and the other on a bases-loaded, two-out walk. Asked this afternoon in an interview with ESPN980's Thom Loverro and Kevin Sheehan to look back on the last night of the season, Gonzalez gave an honest appraisal of his efforts that night and what he thought he could have changed:
"As a starting pitcher you always want to go the distance," Gonzalez said, "I felt like I didn't give it all, you know what I mean? I felt like there was some more that I needed to work on and stuff like that and I wish that I could have done more to help out. I think that going five innings was not enough for the team. Especially as a starter, you want to go out there and give your team the best opportunity to go out there and continue to battle. There's a bunch of things that I wish I could take back. There's the walks, and trying to attack the hitters. There's certain things that you learn from life and that's exactly what it was. It was a lesson in life that I learned."
One of the new additions to the Nationals' lineup is center fielder and leadoff man Denard Span, who brings a .284/.357/.389 career line with him to the nation's capital after five seasons in Minnesota. In his final season with the Twins, the 28-year-old outfielder had a .283/.342/.395 line with 38 doubles and four home runs in 128 games and 568 plate appearances over which he was worth +3.9 fWAR. Span spoke to 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s Chad Dukes and LaVar Arrington this afternoon about joining the defending NL East champions Nationals in the nation's capital in 2013, what he thinks he brings and where he was told he'll be hitting in the Nats' lineup:
"I'm pretty sure once I get down to Spring Training I'll hear more about what the team really needs me to do. As far as I've heard, I'm going to playing center field and leading off and those are two things that I've done now for quite some time and leading off, that's something that I take pride in. Getting the game started the right way. Setting the tone. Trying to get on base and set the table for the guys coming behind me. So, that's something that, like I said, that I know how to do."