New York Daily News

STANTON KOs FRAZIER IN HR DeRBY

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SAN DIEGO — Tony Gwynn will forever be Mr. Padre and the face of baseball in this town. For Chris Sale, he will be a much more important hero. The American League starter jumped in when the two All-Star Game managers were asked to offer a tribute about the late Hall of Famer.

“I would like to add something about Tony Gwynn as well,” Sale said. “He actually made a very big impact in my life.”

Gwynn died in June 2014 after a battle with parotid cancer, a rare malignancy of the salivary gland. He believed it was connected to his long habit of chewing tobacco and his family recently sued the tobacco industry over his death.

“I remember — I chewed tobacco from 2007 until the day he passed away. I remember seeing that, and just being so shocked,” Sale said. “He was a larger-than-life person. He was an inspiratio­n to the game for many, many people for a lot of different reasons. But I quit that day, and I haven’t touched it since.”

Gwynn’s initial tumor was found in the same spot that he would always place his “chew.” Sale said that scared him into quitting. “In a sense, I owe him a huge thank you for not only myself but for my family,” Sale said. “Hopefully I can maybe sway somebody in the right direction as well like he did for me.”

MLB has outlawed chewing tobacco in the minor leagues and cities like New York, Boston, San Francisco and Los Angeles have implemente­d laws making chewing tobacco, even in major-league ballparks, illegal.

STEADY EDDY

Eduardo Nunez never got his chance to shine with the Yankees, stuck behind All-Stars Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriguez. After he was traded to the Twins at the start of the 2014 season, Nunez told infield coach Paul Molitor — now Minnesota’s manager – that all he needed was a chance to show what he could do.

“I was going to make sure I didn’t miss it,” Nunez said.

Nunez played in 72 games in each of his first two seasons with the Twins, but he finally got the opportunit­y he had been waiting for this season – and he’s taken full advantage of it.

Playing second base, third base, shortstop and even DH, Nunez is hitting .321 with an .836 OPS, 12 homers and 40 RBI, earning his first All-Star selection. “I’ve proved I can play every day,” Nunez said. “I’m really excited to be here. It’s a dream come true.”

Nunez has kept in touch with the three veterans that blocked his path in New York, getting texts from both Jeter and A-Rod before arriving in San Diego.

“Enjoy,” Jeter texted. “And text me after my wedding.”

JOHNNY ON SPOT

As the manager of the defending National League champions, Terry Collins has had an almost part-time gig the last few weeks putting together his NL squad and figuring out the starting pitcher. It came down to first-hand experience when he chose San Francisco’s Johnny Cueto.

“We had a tremendous group of starting pitchers in the National League this year, certainly the list, you know, was going to be (Clayton) Kershaw and (Madison) Bumgarner and (Noah) Syndergaar­d and (Jake) Arrieta and certainly everybody deserves an opportunit­y and I thought this guy pitched the best in the first half of the season and deserves an opportunit­y for what he did and what he did to us in the World Series last year,” Collins said of Cueto, who beat the Mets in Game 2 of the World Series.

Until Syndergaar­d pulled himself from his last start with a “dead arm,” Collins said the Mets righthande­r was very much considered. “At one point it was down to Syndergaar­d and Jake),” Collins added. With Kristie Ackert

 ?? GETTY ?? Giancarlo Stanton mashes one of 61 bombs he hits during Home Run Derby on Monday night in San Diego, where fans and fellow All-Stars are treated to blast measuring 497 feet by the Marlin, who isn’t even on NL roster.
GETTY Giancarlo Stanton mashes one of 61 bombs he hits during Home Run Derby on Monday night in San Diego, where fans and fellow All-Stars are treated to blast measuring 497 feet by the Marlin, who isn’t even on NL roster.
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