Tony Gwynn Jr. could be the Dodgers’ starting center fielder

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Tony Gwynn Jr. was non-tendered by the Padres, but ESPN Los Angels reports that he may be good enough to start for the Dodgers:

As he prepared to leave baseball’s quarterly owners’ meetings, [Ned] Colletti said Gwynn’s speed and defensive ability were strong enough that if he can return to form offensively — he hit just .204 for the San Diego Padres last year — he could wind up as the regular center fielder, withMatt Kemp moving to right and Andre Ethier to left.

I don’t know what “return to form” means in DodgerLand, but Gwynn has hit just .244/.323/.314 in 1,054 plate appearances. He’s 28. What you see is what you get.

Which doesn’t mean he’s useless, of course. He’s got a great glove and he’s fast.  If he can pull off even a slight uptick from his career norms — if he can get just one extra flare a week, just one – a gork, a groundball, a groundball with eyes … if he can get a dying quail, just one more dying quail a week — he could be a useful starter.

Personally, though, I’d rather have Matt Kemp in center and a nice platoon in left involving Jay Gibbons and someone.

Video: Nolan Arenado throws out Ty Blach from his back

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Giants starter Ty Blach thought he had a one-out single in the bottom of the third inning of Wednesday afternoon’s game in San Francisco, but Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado had other ideas. Arenado ranged to his left and dove. The ball began to skip away from him, but Arenado quickly re-grabbed the ball, spun around from his knees and whipped a throw across the diamond. He fell on his back like a turtle that had been flipped over as the out on Blach was recorded.

Arenado had also given the Rockies their 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning with a two-run single. He finished 2-for-4 with two RBI on the afternoon. On the season, he’s hitting .294/.346/.547 with 15 home runs, 61 RBI, and 50 runs scored in 348 plate appearances.

Report: Umpire John Tumpane pulled a woman from the edge of the Roberto Clemente Bridge

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Stephen J. Nesbitt and Steph Chambers of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette have an enthralling report involving umpire John Tumpane. On Wednesday afternoon, prior to the game in Pittsburgh between the Rays and Pirates, Tumpane had finished a run and lunch. As he was crossing the Roberto Clemente Bridge just outside of PNC Park, he noticed a woman climb over the bridge’s railing above the Allegheny River.

Tumpane was worried and headed towards the woman. What began was an act of heroism. He started a conversation with the woman, who said, “I just wanted to get a better look of the city from this side,” and then said, “I’m better off on this side. Just let me go.”

Tumpane refused to let her go. He had his arms wrapped around her and spoke words of encouragement until police and paramedics arrived. As the woman was being put into the ambulance, Tumpane asked for her name and prayed for her. He said he hopes to reconnect with her before he leaves town for the next series. He called it an “interesting afternoon.”

The recap here doesn’t do Chambers and Nesbitt’s reporting justice, so please head over to the Post-Gazette to read the full story.

In a sport in which home plate umpires are some of the only ones wearing caged masks, it’s easy to forget that they are human beings, too. We curse at them for making calls that go against our teams, but they can be capable of greatness, too. Tumpane certainly showed that on Wednesday.