Upbeat Gonzalez reports to Nats camp

Upbeat Gonzalez reports to Nats camp

VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals left-hander Michael Gonzalez arrived at Space Coast Stadium on Friday morning, and it was like he never left the organization after the 2012 season. There was left-hander Gio Gonzalez giving him a big bear hug. He was chit-chatting with closer Rafael Soriano as if they were best friends.

Gonzalez was part of the 2012 Washington club that won the National League East title. He was a lefty specialist and one of the veteran leaders in the clubhouse. After that season, Gonzalez signed with the Brewers and was 0-3 with a 4.68 ERA over 75 appearances in '13. He didn't sign his Minor League contract with the Nationals until Tuesday.

Why did it take so long to agree to a deal?

"I wanted to feel comfortable about the signing," Gonzalez said. "There were a few teams [located in Arizona during Spring Training] out there. Obviously, this is the team that has the best chance of getting to the World Series. Where I'm at right now, I want a ring. That's what I'm geared toward. The time I had here in Washington was awesome. The energy was great. Guys were awesome. Again, I feel this is the best opportunity to win the World Series."

Although he didn't sign until Tuesday, Gonzalez threw several bullpen sessions before arriving in camp. He will have his physical Friday before throwing another bullpen session on Saturday. After that, he will pitch live batting practice and get in a game soon thereafter.

"He is a guy who comes with a reputation of being [able to get hitters out]," manager Matt Williams said. "He told us he has been throwing. … He will get into the rotation of pitching. If he is out there and available, there is nothing wrong with taking a look. We'll see where he is at right now."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.