MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Strasburg appreciates Gwynn's style of play, work ethic

Pair grew up and work out in San Diego

Strasburg appreciates Gwynn's style of play, work ethic

VIERA, Fla. -- Right-hander Stephen Strasburg was pleased to learn that the Nationals signed outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. to a Minor League deal Monday night. Gwynn is expected to join the team on Wednesday.

Strasburg and Gwynn saw a lot of each other during the offseason, working out in San Diego. When he was a kid, Strasburg remembered watching Gwynn play high school basketball. Strasburg also played college baseball for Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn Sr. at San Diego State.

"[Gwynn Jr.] is a great guy. Even when I was playing [for San Diego State], he would always come around," Strasburg said. "He would talk to us and the other guys. He is a great personality, just like his dad."

Gwynn has a chance to make the Nationals as a fourth outfielder. With outfielder Jayson Werth limited as he recovers from Jan. 9 surgery on his right shoulder, Gwynn will get his share of playing time.

"He is a lot like Denard [Span] in the work ethic, preparing for every at-bat in the game. He wants to excel on all parts of the game," Strasburg said.

Gwynn tweeted his appreciation for a chance to contribute to the Nationals, writing: "So happy and grateful for the opportunity to continue to play the game I love! #Nationals"

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.