Jose Rijo talks about Esmailyn Gonzalez

Shortstop Esmailyn Gonzalez, one of the best prospects in the Nationals organization, isn’t who he says he is.

According to SI.com, which cited four sources, Gonzalez is actually a 23-year-old named Carlos Alvarez Daniel Lugo. The Nationals list him as being 19 years old.

Jose Rijo, who is in camp as a Spring Training pitching instructor, said no one from SI.com tried to contact him. He read the report on a reporter’s BlackBerry. Rijo laughed and said that he knows the player as Esmailyn Gonzalez.

Rijo said he first saw Gonzalez a few year ago when the latter played in the Yankees’ Dominican academy. Rijo didn’t think there was anything suspicious about Gonzalez.

“I saw him for 2 1/2 years [before he signed with the Nationals],” Rijo said. “At that time, he wasn’t older. I don’t know what to believe anymore. I don’t want to say any more. I don’t want to jeopardize the investigation.” 

Asked how disappointed he would be if Gonzalez wasn’t who he said he was, Rijo said, “In the Dominican, you never know anymore. It has been going on for so long.”

Gonzalez is scheduled to report to the Nationals’ complex on March 13 and participate in the full squad workouts two days later. 

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