Gwynn
SDSU

SAN DIEGO -- Hall of Fame outfielder Tony Gwynn had surgery Tuesday to remove a new cancerous tumor inside his right cheek.

Gwynn, now San Diego State's baseball coach, previously had a malignant growth removed from the same spot in August 2010.

San Diego State said, if the cancer "is found to be localized," Gwynn should be able to return to coach the Aztecs soon.

"Tony has been feeling great and is enthusiastic about coaching," SDSU Athletic Director Jim Sterk said. "He sees this as a temporary setback and we look forward to having him back in the dugout when he is ready."

Gwynn had blamed the original growth on his use of smokeless tobacco.

Twice during his career, doctors found benign growths on the right side of his mouth. Then, in August 2010, a biopsy showed a malignant growth inside his mouth, and on Aug. 31, 2010, Gwynn had surgery to have most of it removed.

Gwynn is entering his 10th season as the Aztecs' head coach. During his tenure he has been recognized as the Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year (2004), led his team to an NCAA Regional appearance in 2009, and has overseen the development of current major leaguers Stephen Strasburg, Justin Masterson and Addison Reed along with his son, Tony, Jr.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Tony and his family today," Padres CEO Jeff Moorad said in a statement. "Tony has a fighting spirit and we have faith that he will continue to battle this disease with the same perseverance that was the hallmark of his playing career. We know Mr. Padre has all of San Diego rooting for him."