Gwynn gets back in the game
Outfielder, slowed by sore throwing shoulder, returns as a DH
PHOENIX -- Banged-up Brewers outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. appeared in his first Cactus League game on Saturday and hopes to take another big step forward before the weekend is out.
Gwynn, who has been hampered since the start of camp by a sore throwing shoulder, served as Milwaukee's designated hitter against the Angels and has been cleared to play catch on Sunday, his final hurdle to playing the outfield.The Brewers hosted the Angels on Saturday at Maryvale Baseball Park, where games typically operate under National League rules. But with road games against NL opponents scheduled for the next few days, Brewers manager Ken Macha asked Angels skipper Mike Scioscia to employ the DH. Scioscia readily agreed. Gwynn went 0-for-2 at the plate but walked in his first plate appearance in the third inning and scored Milwaukee's first run. "As far as getting on the field and playing, maybe a few more days," Macha said. Macha is interested to see Gwynn in the outfield, where he is among a group of players battling for bench spots that also includes non-roster invitees Chris Duffy and Trot Nixon. Gwynn is considered an above-average defender. "But the reports on Duffy are pretty good, defensively, too," Macha said. "So if [Gwynn] is competing with [Duffy] for a job, I want to see what these guys can do. As a matter of fact ... Nixon might go out and play center field one of these games." Nixon played center for Macha in the Minor Leagues in the mid-1990s. His last game there in the big leagues was in 2003, for Boston. With Gwynn sidelined and left fielder Ryan Braun leaving Sunday for the World Baseball Classic, Milwaukee's outfield ranks will be a bit thin. Macha intends to give some opportunities to players from Minor League camp but even that area is a bit thin. Two top prospects, Matt LaPorta and Michael Brantley, were sent to the Indians as part of last summer's CC Sabathia trade, and Macha said another, Lorenzo Cain, has been limited by a sore elbow.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.