Asked this past season about an increased reliance on his fastball and a decrease in changeup usage, Washington Nationals' lefty Gio Gonzalez said that we would be better off asking his catcher, Kurt Suzuki, about pitch selection since Gonzalez trusted, implicitly, whatever signs Suzuki put down.
"I try to go with a Mark Buerhle approach," the Nats' 28-year-old lefty explained. "It's more like, 'Trust your catcher, whatever he puts down try to go with it.' He does all his research, he's always doing his homework in the video room. Going over it with [Pitching Coach Steve McCatty]. So there [are] a lot of things that I trust with 'Zuki. I've been [working] five years with 'Zuki, so we've always been on the same page." That trust, Gonzalez explained, extended to all of the Nationals' catchers.
"We have such great guys and the way they go about their stuff," he said. "So, it's almost to a point where you can trust them." Suzuki's gone. Going into Spring Training, it's a battle for the backup backstop job behind Wilson Ramos, with veteran catcher Chris Snyder and in-house options Jhonatan Solano and Sandy Leon battling it out for the job of filling in for Ramos when necessary. Before he starts working with the Nationals' catchers, however, Gonzalez got a chance to work with one that he clearly idolizes.
As Gonzalez writes in the notes included with the photo, he's hoping some of the Yankees' backstop's postseason success rubs off.
Gonzalez's #WorldSeriestraining hashtag might anger the #NOWSOB (No "World Series or Bust!") crowd.
Hopefully he got some good advice from the potential future Hall of Fame catcher... Think Gio tried to talk Posada out of retirement?
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