Tony Gwynn had facial nerve removed in 14-hour surgery for cancerous tumor

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Tony Gwynn underwent a 14-hour surgery yesterday to remove a malignant tumor from his cheek, with Tom Friend of ESPN.com reporting that the Hall of Famer had a facial nerve taken out and replaced with a nerve from his shoulder.

Gwynn’s wife, Alicia Gwynn, told Friend that the surgery lasted until 1:00 a.m. and was deemed a success, as the cancerous tumor was completely removed.

Gwynn, who attributes the growth to his prior use of smokeless tobacco, underwent a somewhat similar procedure in 2010 that left him unable to smile for several months. Gwynn’s wife is optimistic that his recovery will be much easier this time around, noting that “his face looks good” already.

Friend writes that had the “complex” surgery not gone well yesterday Gwynn’s “face could’ve been partially paralyzed or slightly disfigured.” For now there’s hope that Gwynn will be feeling good enough to resume coaching at San Diego State next month, hopefully while displaying the same smile that baseball fans came to love during his 20-year career.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.