MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Gwynn joins Nationals' outfield competition

Gwynn joins Nationals' outfield competition

VIERA, Fla. -- The Nationals have signed outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. to a Minor League contract, the team announced on Monday night. Gwynn will join the team at big league Spring Training on Wednesday.

Gwynn, the son of Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, spent last season with the Phillies, hitting .152 in 105 at-bats with three RBIs and three stolen bases. The 32-year-old has a chance to make the team as its fourth outfielder. With outfielder Jayson Werth limited as he recovers from Jan. 9 right shoulder surgery, Gwynn will get his share of playing time at Nationals camp.

As a pinch-hitter, Gwynn has a .261 career batting average with 14 RBIs.

"[The Nationals] presented the best opportunity to be in the big leagues," Gwynn said via telephone on Monday night. "Even before I signed, in my mind they are the team to beat in the National League. Who wouldn't want to play for a National League contender?"

Gwynn worked out with Stephen Strasburg this offseason. They talked a lot, but neither had an idea that Gwynn would join the Nationals. Strasburg played for Gwynn's father at San Diego State.

"When he was still [in San Diego], this wasn't necessarily an opportunity," Gwynn said. "In this game, things are pretty fluid; things change fast. It wasn't too long after he left that this opportunity began to present itself. Here I am. I haven't been able to talk to him. I'll see him shortly."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.