Before Tuesday afternoon, the Washington Nationals had seen only one version of Gio Gonzalez. They had come to know the playful competitor who might yell "Recognize!" after throwing a pitch in practice, the cut-up who fiddles with the clubhouse stereo, the chatterbox who jokes with anybody who can hear him.

When Gonzalez walked out to center field at Champions Stadium to warm up for his first spring training start, the Nationals saw the other side of their new left-hander. Heeding his pregame ritual, Gonzalez slipped a pair of headphones over his ears.