PHOENIX -- Craig Counsell had a long and successful Major League career, but he couldn't hit like Tony Gwynn.
That doesn't mean he didn't try.
"You couldn't copy what he did, but you tried," Counsell said on Monday, when the baseball world was saddened by Gwynn's death from cancer of the salivary gland. "I remember trying to find out what kind of bat he used. I thought if I used that kind of bat, something would rub off on me."
So Counsell, who arrived in the Majors during the second half of the 1990s, when Gwynn was in his heyday with the Padres, acquired one of Gwynn's 32 1/2-inch, 30-ounce Louisville Slugger B267s.
"I'd heard he used a smaller, lighter bat, and I always did, too," Counsell said. "So I thought maybe if I used his bat, I would get more hits. It didn't work like his bat did."
The Brewers awoke on Monday to the news that Gwynn had died at 54 following his battle with cancer. Milwaukee's traveling party included one man who pitched against Gwynn in the regular season (bullpen coach Lee Tunnell), one who pitched against him in Spring Training (video coordinator Joe Crawford), a good friend of Gwynn's son, Tony Jr. (Rickie Weeks) ...
And one former Padres teammate.
"I know it's a sad day, but whenever somebody talks about Tony, it brings a smile to my face," said manager Ron Roenicke, who played with Gwynn in 1984 and was on first base when Gwynn popped out to end the World Series. "This was a really nice guy. He loved to talk about baseball. He was in a great mood all the time. He had an infectious smile. And he worked as hard as anybody I've ever seen. He just was a pleasure to be around."
Gwynn's work ethic was famous, and he was a pioneer in the area of using video to prepare for pitchers. He was also a mainstay of the batting cage, as Roenicke observed firsthand.
"I thought I worked pretty hard, but I can remember in Spring Training driving up to the complex in Yuma, Ariz., and when I drove by, Tony was in the batting cage hitting," Roenicke said. "At that time they didn't do a lot of early work; it was mostly afterward. So after our workout, I did my extra work, I showered, I got in my car and drove out by the batting cage, and Tony Gwynn was in the batting cage hitting. And it wasn't only once it happened. So this guy put in work."
Weeks got to know a post-playing career Gwynn, who was a regular in the Brewers' Minor Leagues after the team drafted Tony Jr. in 2003. Weeks and the younger Gwynn were teammates at Class A Beloit and Double-A Huntsville.
"There was one little anecdote that he used to talk about when we were down in 'A' ball," Weeks said. "I guess we were having trouble seeing changeups and stuff like that, and he was like, 'Don't you see the fingers on the ball when the pitcher releases the ball?' We look [at him] like, 'We're not Hall of Famers. No, we don't see that.' It was cool to hear stuff like that from someone like that. To have him come down, the stature that he had, to talk to us and show us some things, was cool."
Weeks expressed condolences to Gwynn's family, including Tony Jr., who attended Weeks' wedding in January.
"It's tough, man," he said. "It's tough to lose someone like that. It hurts the game of baseball and it hurts the people who didn't get a chance to meet him as well."
Gomez sits with sore hamstring
PHOENIX -- It took a sore hamstring to keep Carlos Gomez off the bases on Monday.
Gomez entered the week having reached safely in 30 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the Major Leagues and the eighth-longest such streak in Brewers history. Manager Ron Roenicke did not specify on Monday which leg was giving Gomez trouble but said it was more than a routine day off.
"He's a little sore. It isn't just the rest," Roenicke said. "I really had to give him today off.
"I'm hoping it's just today. He's available that I can use him, but I won't put him in to pinch-run or [for] defense."
Gomez's streak of reaching base is the Brewers' longest since Prince Fielder went 33 straight games in 2007. Monday marked only Gomez's seventh game out of the starting lineup this season.
"I'm feeling good," said Gomez, who didn't mention his hamstring issue. "Last couple of days, I've been feeling much better at the plate, but the last couple of weeks, we have a really tough schedule. We [travel] really late and your body feels really tired, but it's normal.
"I'm fine to play every day. I'm not the one that's going to tell the manager, 'I need a day off.' If he gives it to me, I'm going to take it, but I'm not going to ask."
Prospect Lopez throws seven scoreless
Right-hander Jorge Lopez, the Brewers' No. 19 prospect, threw seven scoreless innings on Monday, and Class A Advanced Brevard County began the second half of the season with a 1-0 victory over Dunedin.
Coming out of the Florida State League All-Star break, Lopez scattered five hits and struck out six. He extended his scoreless innings streak to 12, a stretch that began on June 2.
Orlando Arcia, the Brewers' No. 4 prospect, scored the game's lone run in the first inning. He doubled and later scored on a wild pitch. He finished the game 1-for-3.
Lopez combined with relievers Martin Viramontes and Kevin Shackelford to make sure that one run was enough. The three held Dunedin to seven hits, just one of which went for extra bases.
The Brewers selected Lopez in the second round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, but he struggled to make the adjustment to professional baseball, and he entered this year with a 4.98 ERA and 1.44 WHIP in his first three seasons.
Lopez has found much more success in the Florida State League. With Monday's victory, he improved to 7-2 with a 2.69 ERA. He has struck out 54 and walked 18 in 67 innings. He is tied for the league lead in victories and ranks ninth with a 1.12 WHIP.
• Left-hander Brad Mills remained on the Triple-A Nashville roster on Monday, one day after an "out" date in his Minor League contract. Rather than provide a true "out," the Brewers were required to advertise Mills' availability to the 29 other teams. If any of them are interested in adding Mills to a 25-man roster, the Brewers would have to let him go within 48 hours.
The 29-year-old command specialist has been excellent this season, going 4-2 with a 1.56 ERA in 12 starts and two relief appearances for the Sounds. He had 77 strikeouts versus 18 walks in his first 75 innings.
• The Brewers found themselves all over social media on Sunday night thanks to their "Rappers and Wranglers" flight from Milwaukee to Phoenix. Relievers chose the latter, dressing as cowboys, with Rule 5 pick Wei-Chung Wang and translator Jay Hsu wearing horse costumes. The five-man rotation went the rapper route, as did Roenicke and first baseman Lyle Overbay, who combined to steal the show.
Roenicke looked the part thanks to his wife, Karen. Overbay dressed as Vanilla Ice with help from clubhouse attendants Jason Shawger and Alex Sanchez. Overbay finished the look by shaving lines into the side of his head.
"It was just one day. That's all I've got," Overbay said. "Back to normal now. As normal as I can get, I guess."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. Teddy Cahill is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.