Gwynn returning to more limited role

Gwynn returning to more limited role

Gwynn returning to more limited role
LOS ANGELES -- Since Matt Kemp hit the disabled list on May 14 with a left hamstring strain, the center-field position hasn't missed a beat. Tony Gwynn has filled in admirably for the All-Star, batting .326 in his last 10 games.

Now, with Kemp expected to return to the lineup Tuesday night, Gwynn's role will go back to what it was earlier this season.

"Everybody in a sense has needed to step up, but Tony has been giving us great defense in center and offensively he's been getting big hits all over the place," manager Don Mattingly said.

Against the Astros, Gwynn delivered a key two-out, two-run single Saturday night, and he went 2-for-5 with a run and a pair of RBI singles on Sunday. He even added a pair of steals in the series finale.

The center fielder said he approached his numbered at-bats in the starting lineup no differently than he would normally. He is hitting 12-for-25 with runners in scoring position.

"I always try to make the most of my chances regardless of what the situation is," he said, adding he didn't feel any sense of urgency. "I'm just trying to get the team going and that's about it."

With Dee Gordon struggling offensively, Gwynn was inserted into the leadoff role and he has thrived there.

Gwynn said he hasn't talked to Mattingly about his role upon the return of Kemp -- and eventually Juan Rivera -- but Gwynn said he hopes his recent play has earned him some extra playing time in the future. Mattingly said figuring a place for Gwynn in the lineup will be difficult, especially with Bobby Abreu producing lately.

"He's a great option for me and we are going to keep him in the mix for sure, but we're going to try to put the best lineup out there," Mattingly said.