Gwynn clears waivers; club claims Koshansky
[UPDATED at 1:20 p.m. CT... Added some thoughts from assistant GM Gord Ash and corrected my note on Koshansky, who actually came from the Rangers after a 4-day stay in that organization.]
Tony Gwynn Jr. is staying put.
All 29 teams, including the San Diego Padres, who employed Gwynn’s father for 20 Hall of Fame seasons, could have had Gwynn for $20,000 — plus a roster spot, of course — after the Brewers placed Gwynn on outright waivers Wednesday. All 29 teams passed, so the Brewers were able to assign Gwynn to Triple-A Nashville.
“I was surprised he got through,” Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash said. “But it’s happened to other players before. It happened to Brad Nelson three years ago, and look where he is now. It doesn’t mean the end of anything, it’s just kind of an interruption.
“[Gwynn] is obviously disappointed, but understands. He wanted to make sure that he’s going to get the opportunity to play and make his way back to the big leagues. I assured him he would.”
Gwynn, 26 and Milwaukee’s second-round Draft pick in 2003, reported to Spring Training out of Minor League options and seemingly assured a job as the Brewers’ fourth outfielder. But he missed the first half of Spring Training with a sore throwing shoulder and then was outplayed by fellow out-of-options outfielder Nelson and non-roster invitee Chris Duffy. Gwynn went 4-for-25 in Cactus League games with eight strikeouts.
The final choice essentially came down to Gwynn or Duffy; both are left-handed hitters with speed on the basepaths and are premium defenders in center field. Duffy batted .315 in Spring Training.
Also on Friday, the Brewers announced that third baseman Mike Lamb had cleared release waivers and become a free agent. Lamb was informed Tuesday that he would not have a spot on Milwaukee’s Opening Day roster.
The team also claimed first baseman Joe Koshansky off waivers from the Rangers and optioned him to Nashville, where the Sounds already had a first baseman in former Brave Scott Thorman. Ash said the Brewers could have some further news regarding Thorman later today.
Koshansky, who turns 27 in May, has spent brief stints in the big leagues in each of the last two seasons but spent most of 2008 at Triple-A Colorado Springs, where he batted .300 with 31 home runs and 121 RBIs in just 122 games. He also struck out 158 times. The Rangers claimed him off waivers from the Rockies on March 29 but then needed the 40-man roster spot for a non-roster invitee, according to Ash.