It has been known for some time that Washington Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez was set to return to the starting rotation, but on Tuesday, that inevitability will become a reality. Though the club has not announced the activation in an official capacity, Washington wasted no time opening up a roster spot on Monday night, and Gonzalez is the probable starter against the Houston Astros on Tuesday.
Before hitting the disabled list as a result of a shoulder injury a month ago, the 28-year-old Gonzalez was visibly struggling on the mound for the Nats. In 50.2 innings of action, the left-hander posted an ugly ERA of 4.62, and while the peripherals (3.52 FIP, 3.76 xFIP, .312 BABIP against) indicate that there was some negative luck involved, Gonzalez never looked completely comfortable on the mound.
Fortunately for the Nationals, the National League East is wide open as a result of the recent struggles of the Atlanta Braves, and adding a former All-Star pitcher to the mix is never a bad thing. It will be interesting to see how Gio Gonzalez responds against a vastly improved lineup from the Astros in his debut, but the upside is utterly tremendous if he can recapture the form that made him a consistent 200-inning starter over a five-year span.