6/16/2014 11:44 P.M. ET
Gwynn leaves lasting impression on Indians
By Alec Shirkey / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- Justin Masterson may have spent only one season playing for Tony Gwynn at San Diego State, but he spoke as if he'd known the man his whole life.
Gwynn, 54, passed away on Monday after a long battle with salivary gland cancer. "Mr. Padre" is remembered by many as one of the greatest contact hitters in the game, retiring with a .338 career batting average and a member of the 3,000-hit club before he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007.
But Masterson remembers Gwynn as more than that: a coach, a role model, the consummate class act.
"What caught me the most off guard," Masterson said, "was one of the best hitters in the game of baseball -- a lot of times when people are good at something they gain an arrogance, maybe a 'I'm better than the rest of the world, I'm owed something' -- but what he proved more than anything was he taught me how to be professional. Because the way he treated people was unlike any other."
Most fans knew Gwynn as a crafty hitter who even some of the best pitchers in the game hated to face. Much of that, Masterson says, came from his ability to understand his opponent on the mound. After all, he was one of the first in baseball to popularize the use of video in preparation and analysis.
"He'd sit there at his desk and I'd chit-chat with him about how he'd approach me, or how he'd approach this guy, or what would go through his mind," Masterson said. "And he'd always end it with, 'There's no way I could hit you, Masty.' I'm like ,'Yeah, I'm sure you could probably hit .700 off me, but I appreciate the confidence.'"
Several others within the Indians organization spoke highly of Gwynn, including first-base coach Sandy Alomar, who spent parts of the 1988 and '89 seasons in San Diego.
"One thing that I remember the most is just what a person he was," Alomar said. "No matter if you were a rookie or a veteran, he treated you the same way, with a lot of respect. He was calling me by my real name, Santos. I always remember that."
Cleveland manager Terry Francona, who batted .346 in a partial season with the Expos in 1984, couldn't help but admire Gwynn's prowess at the plate -- even when he was directly competing for a batting title with him.
"In 1984, when I got hurt, we were one-two in the batting race," Francona said. "He went on to be who he was, and I went on to be what I was.
"He's such a rare breed that can do what he does."
Brantley passes tests after hitting head on slide
CLEVELAND -- Indians outfielder Michael Brantley was removed from Monday night's game against the Angels as a precaution after injuring his head/neck area trying to break up a double play.
In the third inning, Brantley singled, and then slid hard into second on the ensuing at-bat and appeared to catch an accidental knee from Angels shortstop John McDonald. However, the team did not sound overly concerned by the injury, as Brantley is not expected to miss much time, if any.
"When he broke up that double play, he got banged in the side of the head a little bit," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He's passed all the initial concussion tests, which is very good. His neck is a little stiff. I think the hope is he'll wake up and feel good and clear-headed, and we'll see how his neck feels."
Brantley, who started in left field, was subbed out for utility man Mike Aviles when the Indians came out of the dugout in the top of the fifth inning, which came as something of a surprise after he played through the fourth inning with no apparent ill effects from the collision.
"I was really surprised by it. He came out and I was like, 'Huh?,'" outfielder David Murphy said.
Cleveland's regular No. 3 hitter exited the game 1-for-2 with an RBI single. He is hitting .323 this season with 11 home runs and 46 RBIs.
Earlier in the day, Brantley was named the American League Player of the Week for the first time in his career after hitting .538 in seven games.
Indians welcome Cavs' Irving for BP, first pitch
CLEVELAND -- Kyrie Irving didn't look half-bad wearing an Indians jersey, and first baseman Nick Swisher let the NBA star know as much when he stopped by Progressive Field on Monday.
Irving, the standout point guard of the Cleveland Cavaliers, greeted Swisher and a handful of others in the Tribe clubhouse before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch in the series opener with the Angels. But unlike Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel, whose scheduled first pitch on June 4 was canceled by inclement weather, Irving's moment was not rained out.
Irving seemed to enjoy himself as he took batting practice from backup catcher George Kottaras and shook his hand in the clubhouse, and the Indians players reciprocated.
"We wouldn't do it if it was a distraction," Indians manager Terry Francona said. We were very open with Kyrie that he was very welcome to do this. I think the players do enjoy it. It's not a distraction one bit. ... It's all positive. I hope I get the chance to meet him."
Quote to note
"I always gave him a hard time because he didn't come to my debut, but he went to Stephen Strasburg's. It's OK. Mine was last-second, Stephen Strasburg we knew about for four years before he threw a game in the big leagues." -- Justin Masterson, on Tony Gwynn missing his Major League debut
• After turning a historic offensive night against the Rangers last Monday and stretching his hitting streak to nine games, corner infielder Lonnie Chisenhall went 0-for-10 in three games against the Red Sox. Manager Terry Francona, however, did not notice anything in particular about the way Boston's pitchers attacked his hottest hitter.
"I just think there were pitches they threw that he didn't hit that he's hit before," he said. "... Except for Ted Williams and possibly George Brett, most guys don't go through the year and hit .400. That's just the way the game is."
• Danny Salazar made his first start with Triple-A Columbus since landing on the seven-day Minor League disabled list with a triceps injury. The right-hander went five innings, allowing two earned runs on four hits while fanning four. He threw 69 pitches.
"He pitched last night and did well," Francona said Monday. " ... All reports were very, very positive."
• The Indians announced that they have signed five more 2014 Draft picks on Monday. Left-hander Justus Sheffield (first round), right-hander Jordan Dunatov (12th round), righty Argenis Angulo (19th round), outfielder Bobby Ison (21st round) and outfielder David Armendariz (23rd round) have all agreed to terms on contracts with the organization. The club has now inked 19 players in the Draft class.
Alec Shirkey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.