Some unfortunate news to report.
Former Padres great Tony Gwynn told Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune that he will soon begin radiation and chemotherapy treatments for parotid cancer, a cancer of the salivary glands.
“I had surgery for a parotid tumor in 1997 and again three years ago
and both those times there was no cancer,” said Gwynn. “But this time
they found a malignancy. They took out three lymph nodes and did all the
tests and the results showed cancer in the parotid.
“The doctors have told me they feel they caught the cancer early and there was not much of it there.”
Gwynn, 50, said he had been trying to keep his cancer “secret” and was “pulling it off” because of his severe back problem. He took a leave of absence from his duties as a Padres television analyst back in August due to three bulging disks in his back.
The Hall of Famer speculates that the cancer may have been caused by his use of chewing tobacco, although a neck and throat specialist at the UCSD Moores Cancer Center told Center that there have been no studies showing a link between parotid cancer and chewing tobacco.
Determined to treat the cancer “aggressively,” Gwynn now faces seven to eight weeks of five-day-a-week radiation treatments and once-a-week chemotherapy treatments. He still plans to return as the baseball coach at San Diego State.
We’re rooting for you, Tony.
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.
For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.
Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.