Gonzalez rejoins Brewers, set to start Sunday against Mets
NEW YORK — The newest member of the Milwaukee Brewers is a familiar face.
Gio González is back after finalizing a $2 million, one-year contract, and the veteran left-hander will start Sunday’s series finale against the New York Mets. González also played for Milwaukee last season, helping the Brewers win the NL Central and make it to the NL Championship Series after he was acquired in an Aug. 31 trade with Washington.
The 33-year-old González was a welcome sight for the weary Brewers after their rain-delayed 10-2 victory over the Mets in the series opener.
“He bought some energy today already to the clubhouse,” manager Craig Counsell said before Saturday’s game against New York. “He’s well-rested, everybody else isn’t.”
Milwaukee designated reliever Jake Petricka for assignment to make room for González, who is 127-97 with a 3.69 ERA in 313 career big league games. Right-hander Junior Guerra was activated from the bereavement list, and infielder Tyler Saladino was optioned to Triple-A San Antonio.
González went 3-0 with a 2.13 ERA in five starts with the Brewers last season. He also started two games in the NLCS against the Dodgers, allowing two runs in three innings.
He signed a minor league contract with the New York Yankees in March, but he opted out of the deal after going 2-1 with a 6.00 ERA in three starts covering 15 innings at Triple-A.
Back on the market after a long winter, González decided to rejoin the Brewers rather than sign with the Mets.
“The chemistry we built together, the good team and the friendship — a lot of the guys stayed in touch just to see how I was doing,” González said. “That means the world to me as a person.”
Milwaukee promised an immediate spot in the rotation. The Brewers’ starting pitchers have struggled so far.
“It was a tough decision,” González said. “The Brewers came in and met my expectations, my needs. Either way, it was a win-win for me. Two great teams that are coming at you right now.”
González can earn an additional $2 million in performance bonuses bases on a system of two points for each pitching appearance of three or more innings and one for each of less than three innings. He would get $333,333 each for 25, 30, 35 and 40 points, and $333,334 apiece for 45 and 50.
He is 15-6 with a 2.83 ERA in 26 career starts against the Mets. But he likely will be limited Sunday in his first game action since his last minor league start on April 14.
“He’s thrown up to 90 (pitches), I think 93 pitches, in his last start,” Counsell said. “So he’s stretched out as much as a Chase Anderson was before his first start for us last week.”
Anderson lasted five innings in his first start of the season last Sunday.
“We’ll definitely be careful with it, but no concerns about him being ready to start,” Counsell said.