Tony Gwynn Jr. returned to the Phillies Tuesday night, eight days after he went on bereavement leave. Gywnn’s dad, the legendary San Diego Padres hitter, died last week at 54.
When Gwynn Jr. pinch-hit for Phillies pitcher Jake Diekman in the eighth inning, Phillies fans gave him a standing ovation. (Fans, spurred on by CSN’s Amy Fadool, attempted to organize this on Twitter during the day.) Marlins catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia stepped to the mound during the ovation so it could continue for longer.
After the game, Gwynn Jr. teared up while talking to reporters and appreciated the tribute to his father from Phillies fans.
“Needless to say, it was pretty awesome. Made the at-bat a little more difficult, had to fight the emotion and the tears and stuff like that. But that’s why guys who play here like to play here. When things are going well or regardless of whether they’re going bad or good, I think the fans stay behind us. Much appreciated by the Gwynn family.”
Gwynn said there’s been an outpouring of support from friends around the league: “I don’t think there was a guy I didn’t get a text from.”