Gwynn eagerly awaits Strasburg's debut

Gwynn eagerly awaits Strasburg's debut

SAN DIEGO -- Padres broadcaster and San Diego State coach Tony Gwynn said he would like to attend Stephen Strasburg's big league debut, which is tentatively scheduled for when the Pirates play at Nationals Park June 8-10.

If Gwynn can't make Strasburg's start, he will be sure to watch the game on his computer or TV. Gwynn has every reason to have interest in watching Strasburg pitch. Gwynn coached Strasburg, 21, from 2007-09. Strasburg went 22-7 with a 1.59 ERA and seven saves during his time at San Diego State.

"I'm excited for him because this is what he has dreamed about -- to get to the big leagues," Gwynn said at PETCO Park on Friday. "Whenever that moment is, I will be very happy for him. Our chest will be stuck out at San Diego State. Whenever he is pitching, the computers will be on here. He is a San Diego native."

Gwynn admitted that when he first met Strasburg, Gwynn wasn't impressed with what he saw from the right-hander. But former San Diego State pitching coach Rusty Filter felt had Strasburg had a high ceiling. After Strasburg started working out with the team, Gwynn began to understand what Filter was telling him.

"Toward the end of October [2006], Stephen threw a bullpen and you could see it. He was throwing 90 to 96 miles per hour," Gwynn said. "The thing that sets him apart is his work ethic. He is the hardest working college guy I've ever seen."

Strasburg, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, has been dominant in the Minors thus far, going a combined 6-1 with a 0.99 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 45 1/3 innings for Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse.

Gwynn said he was "not surprised" by Strasburg's success in professional baseball, but asked to predict what Strasburg would do in the big leagues, Gwynn said, "That's what we are waiting to see. Whenever that game is, the TV will be on him all over the country. Everybody is talking about him. They have seen him pitch in college and they have seen the highlights in the Minors. We'll see what he can do with the best hitters in the world. That's what we are all waiting to see. That's what the climate is all about. So let's go."