Jack Magruder of Fox Sports Arizona spoke with several Diamondbacks players and officials whose lives intersected with Tony Gwynn’s. Many of them were what you might expect — remembrances of his character and skill. Addison Reed — who played for Gwynn at San Diego State — had a more practical and profound reaction:
Gwynn died of mouth cancer that he firmly believed was caused by the tobacco he stashed in his right side of his cheek.
He would have applauded Reed on Monday.
Reed said when he walked into the clubhouse the first thing he did was take the seven cans of chewing tobacco in his locker and throw them out. First he opened them, and then he dumped the tobacco in the trash can. It may have been the most fitting tribute.
Here’s hoping this becomes a trend.
Bob Klapisch: Chewing tobacco is a performance enhancing drug, gives players an edge
Manager Bud Black has tabbed Jon Gray to start on Opening Day for the Rockies. That will be Monday, April 3 in Milwaukee against the Brewers in an afternoon contest.
Gray, 25, is starting Opening Day for the first time in his career. He’ll be the sixth different Rockies pitcher to start Opening Day in as many years.
The Rockies and Gray had a bit of a scare on Friday as he left his spring training start with discomfort in his left foot, but everything came up clean in an MRI. He pitched again on Wednesday with no issue.
Last season, Gray went 10-10 with a 4.61 ERA and a 185/59 K/BB ratio in 168 innings. A consensus top prospect entering each of the previous three seasons, Gray surprisingly put up better numbers at Coors Field — the most hitter-friendly park in baseball — than away.
Today Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker named Blake Treinen as his closer. Treinen has saved exactly one big league game.
There wasn’t necessarily an obvious choice, however. Last year Washington had Mark Melancon, but with him gone and GM Mike Rizzo’s failure to land a high-profile closer in the offseason, it became a contest between Treinen Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover.
Treinen posted a 2.28 ERA with 31 walks and 63 Ks in 67 innings in 2016. His big improvement last year came against lefties, who had tattooed him in the past. He pitched well this spring as well, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.
The Nats are our favorites to win the NL East, but we do have some questions about the pen. Blake Treinen will take the first crack at answering them.