Dad tells Gwynn Jr. of trade to Padres
Gerut sent to Milwaukee in return for familiar name
SAN DIEGO -- In the middle of breakfast Thursday, Tony Gwynn Jr. received a call from his father, former legendary San Diego outfielder and Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn.
This wasn't entirely uncommon for Gwynn Jr., who up until Thursday morning was an outfielder for the Nashville Sounds -- the Triple-A affiliate for the Milwaukee Brewers.
But Gwynn wasn't pressed for the details about his latest game.
"My dad was yelling in the phone like he had won a national championship," Gwynn said of his father, who is currently the head baseball coach at San Diego State.
When the dust settled, Gwynn told his son that he had been traded to the Padres, the very team he grew up watching, following his father around old Jack Murphy Stadium, which now goes by the name of Qualcomm Stadium.
Minutes later, Nashville manager Don Money gave the younger Gwynn the formal notice that he had been traded to the Padres for outfielder Jody Gerut.
"It's been kind of a whirlwind kind of morning. But I'm excited and anxious to get to San Diego," Gwynn told XX 1090 AM in a radio interview Thursday.
Gwynn arrived at PETCO Park just prior to the start of Thursday's game against the San Francisco Giants. He was in uniform for the start of the game, wearing No. 18, which is one number off from the jersey his father wore during his 20-year career with the Padres.
"I'm so excited to be coming home to San Diego and am looking forward to the opportunity. There's a little more to it than I've been traded to San Diego. The fact that it's San Diego is icing on the cake," Gwynn said.
Gwynn, 26, can play all three outfield spots. He was hitting .309 with a .387 on-base percentage for Nashville with 15 stolen bases and 47 hits in 38 games for the Sounds.
Gwynn has a career .248 average in 242 at-bats in the Major Leagues with a .300 on-base percentage, though he was never really able to stick with the Brewers for any long period of time.
It was Gwynn who, in 2007, derailed the Padres' postseason plans with an RBI triple against then-closer Trevor Hoffman that tied a game San Diego would go on to lose in extra innings.
"I think if there's any place he can go and be successful, he found it [in San Diego]," said Hoffman, who is now the closer in Milwaukee. "He'll be admired, and it's almost like he's one of their own because he grew up in their clubhouse."
The Brewers drafted Gwynn two picks before the Padres' turn in the second round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft.
"I'm sure it will be special for him [to play in San Diego]," Milwaukee general manager Doug Melvin said Thursday. "I do hope people don't put too much pressure on him, think that he's going to get 3,000 hits like his father. That's the thing he's up against a little bit, but I said he should enjoy it and I think he will enjoy it."
The Padres could have had Gwynn six weeks ago for nothing. He missed much of Spring Training with a sore right throwing shoulder, and when the Brewers went instead with Chris Duffy and Brad Nelson, Gwynn was placed on waivers to get him off the 40-man roster. Milwaukee officials were surprised when he cleared.
The Padres will likely use the left-handed hitting Gwynn much like they used Gerut in games against right-handed pitching.
"From what it sounded like, I was going to get an opportunity to play a lot. I don't know how that's going to work out," Gwynn said. "I'm looking forward to coming home and putting that Padres uniform on."
As for those inevitable comparisons with his father, Gwynn said he's not too worried about them and that he understands he has to be himself.
"At the end of the day, it's my job. If you go out and perform, then all of that pressure is eliminated," he said. "At this point I think people have seen me enough to know I'm nothing like my father. It's a different style of baseball. I'm going and playing my game."
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.