March 1, 2011
URBAN ARCHIVEA'S PAGE A'SVIDEOMychael UrbanCSNBayArea.com
PHOENIX -- A's manager Bob Geren is so used to giving injury updates, he ticks them off as though there's a checklist in his head.He'd far prefer talking about more positive subjects, of course, and he certainly got one Tuesday. So after talking about Andrew Bailey's 40-pitch mound session, the progress of ailing hurlers Michael Wuertz and Rich Harden, and shortstop Cliff Pennington's anticipated Cactus League debut Sunday, he lit up while discussing left-hander Gio Gonzalez's outing against the Reds."Hard to beat that for a first outing," Geren said, shaking his head as if amazed by Gonzalez's two perfect innings that featured five strikeouts.RELATED: Gio sharp in A's loss to Reds
Gonzalez wasn't nearly as impressed. Following his dominant outing, he spoke extensively with CSNCalifornia.com regarding his progress as a pitcher -- and Dallas Braden's massive role in said development."Dallas has been huge for me," Gonzalez said. "Dude, I mean huge."Braden, Gonzalez said, has mastered the art of 'Owning It'. That is, when he takes the mound, he's utterly convinced that he's the baddest man on the planet, and nobody can beat him.SIEGEL: The great MLB arms race
"It's not easy to just start doing that," Gonzalez told me, "but once you kind of get it, it's incredible what your mind can do. And thanks to Dallas, who, before every start I make, is reminding me, reminding me, reminding me how good I am, I'm starting to get it."He certainly was 'Owning It' on Tuesday. Gonzalez said his goal was to simply throw strike one, try to get quick outs, try to keep his pitch count down. That's his focus this spring, and because he had a breakout 2010 and doesn't have to worry about earning a roster spot anymore, he has the luxury of working on things without sweating results.Alas, his pure stuff is so nasty, the Reds couldn't hit it."Trust me, I wasn't trying to strike guys out," Gonzalez said. "Sometimes it just happens that way."Another area in which Braden has helped Gonzalez is in game preparation. But not in the way you might think. Braden hasn't taught Gonzalez how to prepare for an opponent. He does the work for Gonzalez."He spends the whole week before his start studying, breaking everything down, how he's going to approach different guys," Gonzalez said. "He's a student. And because our styles are similar, he basically does all the work I'd be doing, so I don't have to do it. And then, last year he'd pitch in front of me in the rotation, and I'd watch and just be, 'Oh, OK. That's how you get that guy, that's how you get this guy.'"Dallas is incredible. He's the best leader and teacher I've had."