Gio Gonzalez lay splayed at the base of the mound, his face buried in the grass. Considering just a half-second earlier he had been standing on top of that pile of dirt ready to throw a pitch this turn of events was perplexing to his Nationals teammates.
Gonzalez stayed put just long enough in the top of the seventh inning to give cause for concern, but then jumped to his feet and tried to test his back and legs to make sure there was no serious damage. Then his infielders, manager Davey Johnson and team trainer Lee Kuntz all converged – concerned first and then amused.
“Are you okay, or…”
“If you go out, you got to go out in style,” Gonzalez said afterwards. “To hold my head up now and smile, you’re giving the fans what they deserve, a show. Face-first into the floor is definitely what you came to see.”
He was kidding and still a bit embarrassed about catching a cleat during that attempted pitch – though he had presence enough to doff his cap to the crowd as his teammates departing chuckling. Only Gonzalez’ pride was really hurt. His teammates got a kick out of the whole thing.
“Oh, it was hilarious,” first baseman Adam LaRoche said.
“Supposedly pitchers aren’t athletes anyway, but if you get hurt like that, that’s a really non-athletic play,” Ryan Zimmerman cracked. “If you get hurt falling from however tall you are, that’s not good.”
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