Two winters ago in Hialeah, Fla., the home town that remains deep within him, Gio Gonzalez met the same man each morning at 8:30. The trainer, Sergio Pacheco, carried a folder that outlined Gonzalez's workout plan. "Intense training," Gonzalez said. "No breaks." The cover of the binder bore the title, "Project 20."

"I sit back and I laugh about it," Gonzalez said Saturday afternoon, standing at his locker inside the Washington Nationals' clubhouse.