Marlins catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia received high praise from the Phillies for his kindhearted gesture during Tuesday’s game when Tony Gwynn Jr. was sent in to pinch-hit for the first time since his Hall of Fame father’s death last week.
As the crowd at Citizens Bank Park stood and applauded Gwynn in the eighth inning, Saltalamacchia trotted out to the mound, not so much to speak with reliever A.J. Ramos but to allow Gwynn more time to take in the special moment.
“Saltalamacchia went out to the mound unprompted,” Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. “I thought that was classy and a special moment.”
Gwynn, who had been away to attend his father’s funeral, broke down in tears when describing the moment to reporters following Tuesday’s game.
“I can’t imagine what it’s like to lose a parent,” Saltalamacchia said Wednesday. “Coming back from something like that, first game back, a lot of emotions, the crowd was obviously cheering and showing their respect. At the same time, I wanted to show my respect and give him that moment, let him regroup and enjoy that moment.”
Saltalamacchia said he expressed his sympathies when Gwynn stepped into the batter’s box.
“I told him, ‘Sorry for your loss,’ and he said, ‘Thank you, Salty,’ ” he said. “That’s when the crowed started to cheer. That was the moment where I was like, OK, give it a little extra time. I hope someone would do the same for me.”
Gwynn grounded out to first in the at-bat.
on the mend
The Marlins placed shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Saturday, with a strained right triceps.
Manager Mike Redmond said Hechavarria likely would not be out longer than the 15-day DL stint.
Infielder Donovan Solano was recalled from Triple A New Orleans to fill Hechavarria’s roster spot. But Redmond said Ed Lucas probably would see most of the action at shortstop in Hechavarria’s absence.Christian Yelich