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 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.