MLB Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn has missed the past 19 games as head coach of San Diego State's baseball program while regaining strength and recovering from ongoing cancer treatments. Gwynn had kept the news quiet since March 24, apparently until Fox 5 in San Diego reported Monday that he was on medical leave. Gwynn told the San Diego Union-Tribune that while he's "doing good," he's not sure when he'll be able to return to the Aztecs.
Gwynn, who had surgery on his mouth in 2012, has suspected that his cancer comes from chewing tobacco. He turns 54 years old May 9. Assistant coach Mark Martinez runs the team now, as he has other times Gwynn has been unable.
Gwynn, who has coached for 12 years since retiring from the San Diego Padres in 2001, has enacted a policy that doesn't allow anyone associated with the SDSU team but him to talk about his personal health issues. His comments to the U-T were made to sound positive, but they also are vague:
When reached by phone [Tuesday] morning, Gwynn said, “I have no comment, other than to say I’m doing good. That’s all I can say. But nobody believes me because there hasn’t been any information out there. But, trust me, I’m doing good.”
There are four weeks remaining in the regular season, but it remains to be seen if Gwynn feels well enough to be back in time to finish out the year.
“That I don’t know,” said Gwynn. “That’s the truth. I don’t know. I know I’ll be back to talk to the team. I just don’t know if I’ll be back coaching. I don’t know.”
It's the toughest spot in the world if you are Gwynn, obviously, and it's also sad and awkward for the players and those work for the team and the SDSU athletics department. The Aztecs are enjoying their best season in perhaps 30 years, sporting a 28-12 record before their game Tuesday night against Cal State Northridge, which is to be played at Tony Gwynn Stadium. Gwynn is the biggest reason the program is successful, yet he can't fully participate because of his health issues. How can everyone get the most of this experience? They can't. On top of it all, Gwynn must worry about his own mortality.
Big BLS H/N: The Sporting News
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