Ten days after Tony Gwynn had surgery to remove a malignant growth from his right cheek, the Padres and Gwynn's agent agreed to a contractual framework that covers Gwynn's return to the team's broadcasting booth this year, this blog has learned.
The one-year pact hasn't been made official, but the Padres stipulated terms that include a raise for Gwynn.
"I spoke with Tony a couple of months ago about TV and told him we'd like him back in the booth," Padres president Tom Garfinkel told this blog today. "We look forward to having him back with Dick (Enberg) and Mark (Grant)."
Gwynn, speaking by phone from his home in Poway, said "it is exciting" that he's been able to speak since waking up from the 14-hour operation on Feb. 15. As part of the procedure, a nerve was removed from Gwynn's right shoulder and grafted into his right cheek, where a nerve had been removed along with the tumor.
Gwynn, whose head was still sore on Thursday, said he doesn't know when he will return to broadcasting and coaching San Diego State baseball's team, but the Hall of Famer spoke with precision and power over the phone.
"Getting to work with Dick Enberg and Mark Grant on a regular basis was fun, and hopefully I get the chance to do it again," said Gwynn, who typically works about 30 Padres games each year as a color analyst.
It wouldn't be shocking if Gwynn were to work the Padres' home opener, on April 5 against the Dodgers (his Aztecs will play later that day at UNLV).
Gwynn's broadcasting contract with the Padres is separate from a contract that pays him as a Padres adviser.
Like many Padres fans, Gwynn is eager for MLB to approve a 20-year pact between the Padres and Fox Sports San Diego. "I'm excited about Fox and I'm excited about the Padres this season," he said. "Just to be involved, that's what I'm looking for."