WASHINGTON — When Tony Gwynn died, baseball lost a star. Stephen Strasburg lost a former coach — and a man he calls "part of my family."
The Nationals ace said Gwynn was "like a god to me growing up" in San Diego. Strasburg pitched for San Diego State, where Gwynn coached from 2007-09, and made a point to visit Gwynn when he got back to San Diego in the offseason.
"It became pretty tough the last couple of years with health issues and everything," he said. "This past offseason was probably the least I was able to see him."
Gwynn died on Monday at age 54 of oral cancer.
Strasburg, 25, said one of the lessons he learned from Gwynn was how to handle the ups and downs of life and baseball.
"Not everything goes your way in life, and certainly not in this game," he said. "I think that's one of the things, from a personal perspective I struggled with that, and he really helped me understand that's it's not necessarily the results, it's the work you put in every single day."
BRAWL PENALTIES: Rockies RHP Nick Masset, a product of Pinellas Park High and St. Petersburg College, was suspended three games and fined for throwing a pitch at Braves C Evan Gattis on Thursday. Atlanta RH reliever David Carpenter was also fined for throwing at Colorado OF Corey Dickerson in the same game.
INDIANS: LF Michael Brantley was scratched and had tests on the head and neck injuries he sustained Monday.
NATIONALS: OF Bryce Harper took batting practice for the first time since going on the disabled list April 27 with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb.
RANGERS: Former Rays All-Star 1B Carlos Peña agreed to a minor-league contract.
RED SOX: OF Grady Sizemore, who made the team this spring after missing two seasons with injuries, was designated for assignment.