JUPITER, Fla. -- Gio Gonzalez is one of the bright young pitching stars in the big leagues today, but the 26-year-old is still learning.
Gonzalez, who won 16 games last year and earned his first All-Star appearance, was rocked by the Cardinals for eight runs on 10 hits over 3 2/3 innings on Thursday. Despite the tough outing, the talented lefty has a positive outlook on his day.
"I felt like I was throwing pretty good pitches," Gonzalez said. "They were just making contact. You're going to have those days. The good part about today is that it's Spring Training. You work on stuff."
Acquired in a trade from the Athletics, Gonzalez will be pitching in the National League for the first time in his career. Thursday was the first time he stepped in the batter's box since joining the Nationals, and he admitted that it was affecting his game a little bit.
"I definitely wanted to work on swinging it and also going out there to pitch," Gonzalez said. "That up and down process takes some out of you, but you realize, 'Man, I'm going to be doing this a lot.' I think there are things that I want to go back and work on like going out pitching, hitting and then going back. There are some things I want to try that I think will help. But at the same time, I'm not going to overload today into the thinking process. It's just one of those days. You move forward and that's it."
Gonzalez took some positives from his tough outing. The young lefty made sure to take note of many things the Cardinals did against him. He hopes to use that knowledge to be better prepared for when he faces them in the regular season.
"What I want to work on is better pitches and better selection, keeping the ball down, learning to hit my spots, mixing it up on certain counts and learning certain hitters that are very aggressive right off the bat," Gonzalez said.
"There were certain hitters that I can go back and say out of three at-bats he's seen four pitches. That lets you know right off the bat that there are certain guys that are going to swing no matter what. That's a positive thing to learn now before the season starts."