Baker: Gio also was pitching for Fernandez

Baker: Gio also was pitching for Fernandez

WASHINGTON -- On Thursday, Gio Gonzalez will be in Florida to attend the funeral of his friend Jose Fernandez. On Wednesday night, Gonzalez had to pitch for the Nationals against the D-backs, with the Marlins pitcher, who died in a boating accident early Sunday morning, weighing heavily on his mind.

Gonzalez lasted only 3 2/3 innings in a rain-shortened 3-0 loss, but it was difficult to blame the lefty for having a tough night.

"Before the game, I talked to him a little bit about Fernandez, and he was pitching for him and for us," manager Dusty Baker said. "Just wasn't a very good night."

Gonzalez, a Miami native, came to know Fernandez in recent years as the Marlins righty blossomed into one of the game's best pitchers. On Sunday, Gonzalez had "JF16" written on his hat and appeared to break down crying during the moment of silence to remember Fernandez. At one point during Wednesday's pregame, the Nats' starter stopped his jogging and motioned to the sky with his hat, apparently in tribute to his friend.

Following Wednesday's game, Gonzalez declined, through a team official, to speak about Fernandez, but teammate Trea Turner said it was clear how difficult the past few days had been for the pitcher.

"It's sad, it stinks," Turner said. "That's life, and you've got to handle it the best way you can. Unfortunately we couldn't get the win tonight, but he battled out there, and he had a lot to deal with."

Baker said Gonzalez has been noticeably emotional about Fernandez's death since news broke Sunday morning. The team gave him permission to fly back to Florida for the funeral.

"It impacts us all. We're a people that respond to emotion, good and bad," Baker said. "I don't like being around emotionless people, because those are people that are really kind of boring, and Gio is really full of emotion."

Alex Putterman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.