Mariners moving forward with Milton Bradley
SEATTLE -- The Seattle Mariners aren't giving up on Milton Bradley as the oft-troubled outfielder awaits a court appearance following his arrest in Los Angeles earlier this month.
Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik said on Thursday that the Mariners are moving forward with Bradley as part of their roster and expect him to arrive at spring training ready to compete for a job on the Mariners roster.
Bradley was arrested earlier this month in his native Los Angeles and has a court appearance set for Feb. 8.
"The legal issues are the legal issues. That's something that takes care of itself," Zduriencik said. "What we're thinking about is, he's coming in, he's part of this organization, he's going to compete for a job and let the pieces fall where they may."
Zduriencik said he spoke with Bradley the day after his Jan. 19 arrest on a felony charge. Bradley was released on $50,000 bail.
New Seattle manager Eric Wedge knows Bradley from his days in Cleveland. He spoke at length about Bradley on Thursday, reiterating that Bradley is still part of the ball club and it's his job to get the most out of Bradley.
"People make mistakes. There are no perfect human beings out there. Do I agree with everything that has happened? No. But right now, he's still a part of this ball club and it's my job where we get the most out of him," Wedge said.
The switch-hitter spent two weeks away from the Mariners in May to deal with emotional issues. He has played for eight clubs in 11 major league seasons marked by boorish behavior, suspensions and repeated run-ins with umpires and managers.
During spring training last year, Bradley called himself the Kanye West of baseball. He was acquired by the Mariners from the Cubs in a December 2009 trade and has one season remaining on the $30 million, three-year contract he signed with Chicago.
A right knee injury ended Bradley's 2010 season in late July. He batted .205 with eight homers and 29 RBIs in 73 games for Seattle before undergoing arthroscopic surgery to repair a lateral meniscus tear in August.
Mariners trainer Rick Griffin said Thursday that Bradley should be fully healthy when spring training begins in less than three weeks.
"I'm curious to see how he comes into spring training prepared," Zduriencik said. "One thing he did tell me was that the issue aside ... He said he's worked very hard. He wants to prove a point. He wants to come in and rebound from two years that were sub-par years. He'd like to come in and have a good year. Physically, he's prepared himself. We'll see what happens in spring training."