Gio trying to ‘grind through’ recent problems

By Andrew Simon

WASHINGTON — After enduring his second straight short and ineffective start on Saturday, Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez didn’t directly answer questions regarding his health. Gonzalez had some trouble with shoulder tightness earlier in the season and was asked how he felt after giving up five runs in three innings to the Mets.

“It’s one of those things you’ve just got to grind through,” Gonzalez said. “I’m just trying to find out what it is, and hopefully something positive comes out of it.”

Asked again if he was dealing with anything health-wise, Gonzalez added, “Realistically, arm was dropping a lot. I guess we’ll see.”

The 28-year-old, who has made at least 32 starts in four straight seasons, came out of his April 23 start against the Angels after five innings due to shoulder tightness. He’s stayed on schedule since then, pitching four more times.

Over his last two outings, Gonzalez has allowed 12 earned runs on 16 hits over 7 1/3 innings, walking five and striking out eight. He’s thrown more than 23 pitches per inning and seen his ERA rise from 2.91 to 4.62.

Gonzalez said his arm slot has been off, with his pitches getting up in the strike zone. Manager Matt Williams has noticed that Gonzalez hasn’t been able to find consistency with his release point like he usually does as a game goes along.

However, Williams said he couldn’t attribute the issues to an injury, as Gonzalez hasn’t lost velocity. On Sunday, he threw his fastball at 90-94 mph.

“He’s had a little tight shoulder earlier this year but he’s continued to pitch and tells us he feels good, so I don’t know,” Williams said. “I don’t see that.”

Follow Andrew Simon on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB.

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