New dad Gio not at his sharpest vs. Astros

Nationals lefty calls birth of son Enzo 'the most beautiful thing'

New dad Gio not at his sharpest vs. Astros

VIERA, Fla. -- Gio Gonzalez wasn't sharp through the first two innings of his Grapefruit League start Monday afternoon during the Nationals' 5-3 win against the Astros.

His struggles were easy to understand, though. The left-hander was exhausted. He had just returned Saturday night from Washington D.C., where his fiancée, Lea, gave birth to their first son, Enzo, on Thursday.

Enzo is healthy, weighing eight pounds, one ounce and measuring 20 1/2 inches.

"I've seen some crazy things, but that's the most beautiful thing," Gonzalez said in the clubhouse before his outing.

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So, yes, baseball understandably wasn't at the forefront of Gonzalez's mind Monday.

"What's it been like? It's been like being a dad," Gonzalez said of the past few days. "It's tiring because you want to be there and help out as much as possible, but you've got to get back to work. But as far as the whole process, it was exciting to be a father and come back to work to baseball. Just feel like a little kid as an adult."

Gonzalez didn't throw while in D.C., only playing light catch Sunday so he didn't tire his arm. He threw 4 1/3 innings of one-run ball on Monday, allowing five hits and issuing four walks. He threw 87 pitches, 50 for strikes.

"At times I was rushing to get home, not picking up my target," Gonzalez said. "But as the game started to prolong a little bit, it was a little too late trying to get into those deeper innings. But if I can establish the first-pitch strike right away, it would've been a different outcome."

Gonzalez said manager Dusty Baker and pitching coach Mike Maddux told him not to worry about pitching under such unusual circumstances, which helped ease the left-hander's mind.

"You take four days off, it does kind of wear you down a bit," Gonzalez said. "But I felt good."

Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.