Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Gwynn Goal: To Return, `Say I Made It through the Season'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Gwynn Goal: To Return, `Say I Made It through the Season'

Article excerpt

It is late September - again. And Tony Gwynn is sidelined - again.

Gwynn, the San Diego Padres' star right fielder, underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee nine days ago. He said doctors cleaned out "60 to 70 pieces of cartilage that were floating around."

Gwynn, 33, is traveling with the Padres, but he didn't play in the Padres' 11-7 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Monday night at Mile High Stadium, he didn't play Tuesday, and he won't play Wednesday. Only 11 games remain for the Padres in a season that offers little hope for salvation. There seems to be little sense in pushing Gwynn for a few more at-bats in the final days.

Except to Tony Gwynn, that is.

The attention in Denver has been on the National League batting title and Andres Galarraga's effort to get enough plate appearances to beat out Gwynn. For Gwynn, however, that is a sidelight to this September. He hopes to get back in the Padres' lineup - possibly this weekend in San Francisco - for a more personal reason than a shot at a fifth NL batting title.

"I know I'm in Galarraga territory and people are not going to believe it, but I just want to play," Gwynn said. "The batting title would be nice, but I still feel I have time to win a fifth one. If not this year, then the next year or year after that. The motive for me is to be on the field on the last day, for the last out and say I made it through the season. I've missed that the last three Septembers."

Gwynn's bat remains magic.

Even if he doesn't play another day in 1993, he will finish the season with his 11th consecutive .300 season, the longest streak since Stan Musial's 16-year run ran out after 1958. Gwynn's .358 average this season puts his career mark at .329.

Injuries have begun to take a toll, however.

In 1990, he missed the final 15 games because of a broken right index finger. Two years ago, he missed the final 21 games because of a sore left knee. Last season, he played only four innings after Sept. 8 because of a sprained knee ligament.

And now, this season, he has had the third arthroscopic procedure on his left knee in three years. For the fifth time in six seasons, Gwynn will fail to appear in more than 141 games. …

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