PHOENIX (AP) -Tony Gwynn Jr. had just gotten back to his San Diego home in October to begin the offseason when his doorbell rang.
The delivery man's first instinct?
``He just went, 'Ugggh,''' the Brewers center fielder said.
That reaction was popular throughout the city toward the son and namesake of the Hall of Fame hero for the Padres, whom he helped eliminate from the postseason.
``I got a lot of ribbing,'' he said. ``Most of it was good natured.''
The 25-year-old Gwynn tried to have a low-key winter after his at-bat in the next to last game of 2007.
His pinch-hit triple in the ninth with two outs and two strikes against Trevor Hoffman tied the game, and the Brewers went on to win in extra innings and again the next day to finish 83-79.
The two losses forced the Padres into a one-game playoff for the NL wild card, which they lost to Colorado.
``People asked, 'Aw, why didn't you just strike out?''' said a grinning Gwynn, who still got a ride home on the plane of Padres owner John Moores after his hit. ``I'm not just going to get an out because I'm friends with those guys over there.''
That delivery man? Well, Gwynn took the package for his wife and the two talked long enough that the man offered to take Gwynn fishing whenever he wanted.
``I guess that worked out,'' Gwynn deadpanned.
While reminiscing is nice, Little T's bigger concerns revolve around staying in the big leagues in Milwaukee and showing he can be a consistent contributor.
Gwynn is one of several outfielders vying for time in center field while three-time Gold Glove winner Mike Cameron, signed to a one-year contract this offseason, serves his 25-game suspension for testing positive for a banned stimulant.
``It's big,'' Gwynn said. ``Somebody's got to play those first 25 games.''
Gwynn plays solid defense and is a threat on the basepaths, but he's not a slugger and acknowledges that makes him an odd man out in Milwaukee, built on the power of Prince Fielder (50 homers last season), Ryan Braun (34) and Bill Hall (35 in 2006).
``It's not that I'm not needed, there's just different things I bring to the table,'' said Gwynn, who dismisses the notion that he might fit better on another club. ``I used to worry about that and get worked up about it, but you just can't do that.''
Gwynn's father hit .302 with two homers, 54 RBIs and 15 steals in 140 games over his first two stints in the majors in 1982 and 1983. The younger Gwynn has a .260 average, no homers and 14 RBIs in 200 career at-bats over his first two seasons in the big leagues.
The son of the Hall of Famer doesn't feel like he's playing baseball in the wrong era, though he does chuckle at that notion.
``I think he's the victim of today's needs and requirements for what you look for,'' general manager Doug Melvin said. ``I think he gets hurt more, probably in the National League where your catcher is not a prolific hitter and then you've got your pitcher who doesn't hit and now to have someone else who is a nice kind of hitter, but probably just not the kind that teams need if you need to score 900 runs.''
Melvin said outfielders that hit .280 and steal 25 bases but only have about 30 extra-base hits a year are a rarity because of their lack of power numbers.
``Teams just don't seem to be able to carry them because the way the game is so offensive-minded,'' he said.
And Gwynn knows he can't reinvent himself as a slugger, even though his dad hit 33 homers in a two-year span starting when he was 37. Instead, Little T is taking in any advice he can get from the organization.
Take the meeting he had with Brewers manager Ned Yost this week because he was preoccupied with trying to hit singles. He immediately made adjustments and it paid off Tuesday when he hit a two-run homer against the Cubs.
``What I'm looking for from him is to see some consistency and quit worrying about getting hits,'' Yost said. ``If you put together good, consistent at-bats, your hits will come. That's all. I want to see Tony relax and put together good at-bats and he's of course more than capable of doing that.''
Gwynn has one other thing on his side - the knowledge that he can deliver in the clutch like last year.
``If I hadn't had that hit, San Diego would have had a totally different offseason, Colorado would have had a totally different offseason,'' Gwynn said. ``The entire postseason would have been totally different.''

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