Injured outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. said he hopes to play for the Dodgers again… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)
Tony Gwynn Jr. said Saturday that he hopes his injured left shoulder heals soon enough for the outfielder to play again before the season ends Sept. 28.
Gwynn initially jammed the shoulder while stealing a base against the Washington Nationals early this month, then aggravated the injury on another slide against the Arizona Diamondbacks last week.
The Long Beach native said he has a bruised rotator cuff. Before the injury, Gwynn had appeared in 133 games and was batting .258 with two home runs, 22 runs batted in and a career-high 22 stolen bases.
"Hopefully, [the shoulder] will heal fast enough for me to get some more games in before the season is over," said Gwynn, who turns 29 next month and is the son of Hall of Famer and San Diego Padres legend Tony Gwynn.
The younger Gwynn said he would especially like to be available when the Dodgers play a series against the Padres, his former team as well, in San Diego from Sept. 23 to 25.
Gwynn also reiterated that he would like to be with the Dodgers again next year, even if it means again playing part time.
After batting .204 for the Padres last season, Gwynn was let go, and he signed a one-year, $675,000 deal with the Dodgers. After this season, he's eligible for salary arbitration if the Dodgers tender him a contract.
"I enjoy being here; I'd love to come back," Gwynn said. "Obviously, I want to play as much as possible. If it's not every day — honestly, I don't even think of it like that. Just give me the opportunity and let my work dictate how much I play."
As for this year, Gwynn said: "All in all, it's not a bad season considering where I was at one point in the year." His batting average dropped below .200 in late May.
"Tony's definitely a guy that we're interested in" who has "showed himself to be a guy who's a valuable player," Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly said.
"He's going to drive in some runs, but it's not really part of his game," Mattingly said. Gwynn's strengths are "speed, defense, getting on base, setting the table" for other hitters.
For now, Gwynn is mostly letting his shoulder heal before he starts rehabilitation exercises.
"It probably would be better that we let it calm down a little more," he said.
Speaking the day after first baseman James Loney slugged a three-run home run as a pinch-hitter, Mattingly said: "This is as good as I've seen James swing." Loney hit another three-run homer in his first at-bat Saturday.... After Sunday's 1 p.m. game against the Pirates, the Dodgers are off Monday and then Tuesday open their final home series of the year, against the San Francisco Giants.