The abundant praise for Tony Gwynn, after his death Monday at the much-too-young age of 54, is not only a recognition of one of the all-time great hitters, but also a man of character. He was a good man by all accounts (former Sea Dogs pitcher Justin Masterson had remarked how much he learned from Gwynn, who was Masterson’s manager at San Diego State).
But there is a lesson to learn from Gwynn’s death, which resulted from cancer of the salivary gland, which was diagnosed in 2010. The cancer was the result of Gwynn’s addiction to smokeless tobacco. Gwynn was not alone in his inability to stop the habit.
It is a terrible habit. And it is deadly.
On the baseball field, the Red Sox won a 1-0 game behind Rubby De La Rosa’s three-hit shutout over seven innings. De La Rosa (2-2, 2.84) became the first Red Sox pitcher to not allow a run in his first two starts at Fenway Park. His next start is expected to be Saturday in Oakland.
Brandon Workman, who also has won a 1-0 game for Boston, is scheduled to pitch Friday, but his suspension for throwing near Evan Longoria’s head – intentionally or not – may finally come down. That would leave an opening for Felix Doubront to return to the rotation.
Then there is Clay Buchholz (at least one more rehab start, scheduled for Thursday with Pawtucket), outfielder Shane Victorino and third baseman Will Middlebrooks also coming close to being ready to return.
What will the Red Sox roster look like in a week? That is a good question.
Tonight the Red Sox (32-28) send Jon Lester (7-7) against the Twins and Phil Hughes (7-2).
Allen Webster (3-4, 2.94) could eventually make it back to the majors. He pitched six innings for Pawtucket: 7 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 5 K … The PawSox had only three hits – two by Mookie Betts (.292) and one from Garin Cecchini (.263) … Both Victorino and Middlebrooks were 0-for-2.
The Sea Dogs fell behind Erie 7-0, tied the game 7-7, and then lost 8-7 on a walk-off homer in the ninth off reliever Robby Scott, who still has a 0.88 ERA … Keith Couch (3.25 ERA) had a rare rough start: 3 1/3 IP, 10 H, 7 R … The Sea Dogs hit three home runs, including back-to-back blasts from Blake Swihart (his eighth, now batting .294) and Sean Coyle (.sixth, .353) … Jonathan Roof (.342) hit his first Double-A homer … Deven Marrero (.270) was 3-for-5.
Portland lost starter Mickey Pena, suspended for 100 games after his third positive test for a “drug of abuse” (i.e., not a performing-enhancing drug).