Gwynn still sore, but impression already made

Gwynn still sore, but impression already made

LOS ANGELES -- Tony Gwynn's left shoulder is still sore, but Dodgers manager Don Mattingly doesn't need to say anything more to know he'd like to bring Gwynn back next year.

Mattingly had already told Gwynn that his playing time in September would diminish as the club wants to see if Jerry Sands is ready to play in the Major Leagues.

"It's not really costing him time," Mattingly said. "We know what Tony is and what he brings to the table."

Gwynn signed with the Dodgers after being non-tendered by the Padres last winter. He will be eligible for salary arbitration coming off a salary of $675,000. The Dodgers see him as a versatile fourth outfielder on a club that has a more offensive-minded left fielder to go with Matt Kemp in center and Andre Ethier in right.

"Tony is definitely a guy we're interested in," said Mattingly. "I'm not making decisions on who will be here or not be here next year. We all like Tony, it just depends how it sets up. We've got to find offense in certain spots and that's one of those spots. He can play all over the outfield. If you ask Tony to hit fifth and drive in runs, that's not his game. His game is speed, setting the table, stealing a base."

Gwynn, with a .258 average and 22 steals in 133 games, has had a nice bounce-back season from last year, when he hit .204 with 17 steals in 117 games. He also is 8-for-22 (.364) this season as a pinch-hitter.