M. Gonzalez looks to prove he can help 'pen

M. Gonzalez looks to prove he can help 'pen

VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals left-hander Michael Gonzalez has never believed that he needs six weeks of Spring Training to get ready for a season. That's good, because the veteran reliever doesn't have that much time this year.

After signing a Minor League contract, Gonzalez reported to camp last Friday. He threw to Minor League hitters on Wednesday, and after that went well, he is scheduled to make his Grapefruit League debut on Friday, only about two weeks before the season begins.

"I'm ready in two, three weeks, and that's pretty much what I'm trying to show right now, that that's how long I need," said Gonzalez, who threw several bullpen sessions on his own before signing. "I know what I need to prepare. I understand some guys might need longer, but I know what I need, and it's not six weeks."

The 35-year-old, a solid contributor to the Nats' 2012 division title team, posted a 4.68 ERA in 75 games for the Brewers last season. He is competing to be the second lefty in Washington's bullpen, behind Jerry Blevins.

Gonzalez said he didn't know how hard he was throwing on Wednesday, but that his arm strength felt good. He was dealing with no ill effects on Thursday, setting him up to pitch in relief against the Tigers on Friday in Lakeland, Fla.

"I thought I'd be experiencing a little bit of soreness after that first outing, but I didn't feel any soreness at all," Gonzalez said. "I feel good today and ready to go at it tomorrow."

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