6/27 Bradley update
Lou Piniella said he was right in what he did, but not in what he said to Milton Bradley on Friday. The two met prior to Saturday’s game and the manager apologized to the outfielder for comments he made in the clubhouse. Bradley was in the lineup and batting third.
On Friday, Bradley threw his helmet and one of the water coolers after a bad at-bat, and Piniella told the outfielder to go home. He left after the sixth inning. Piniella then followed Bradley into the clubhouse, and the two exchanged words.
“I don’t want problems with players,” Piniella said Saturday. “I don’t want problems with anybody. This job is tough enough to have confrontations. It was only for a few seconds — it wasn’t long.”
What was also bothersome to Piniella and several of the Cubs players was that the comments the manager made were leaked.
“We have the sanctity of a clubhouse here,” PIniella said. “I’m disappointed that something like that gets out. There are a lot of heated things that are said in the clubhouse at times and they should stay there.”
Bradley spoke to a handful of reporters prior to Saturday’s game.
“The last time somebody called me a piece of [expletive], I tore my ACL,” Bradley said, referring to an incident when he was with the Padres and got into an argument with umpire Mike Winters. “I know how to deal with that.
“It’s Lou Piniella, you know what I’m saying?” Bradley said. “To me, Lou Piniella is somebody. If it’s a motivating tactic and he’s taking a different switch — people were saying he didn’t have fire — then I understand. I heed what he has to say. It matters. I take it to heart. I’ll be better for it.”
Bradley said he’d never had a manager tell him to leave a game. He tried to put the matter behind him.
“My head’s fine,” Bradley said. “I never had a problem mentally. Sometimes I react bad about things but I”m an extremely intelligent individual. I don’t see why my head wouldn’t be clear.”
Does he feel as if he’s being singled out?
“Like I’ve said, I don’t have the same set of rules as other people,” Bradley said. “I’ve made mistakes in my past, so you don’t get the leeway that other people might get. Considering the circumstances, I guess it’s fair.”
Piniella said he was worried someone could get hurt when Bradley — or anyone — hurls objects in the dugout.
“I’ve broken three or four helmets,” Bradley said. “It’s nothing drastic.”
Can he still have a relationship with Piniella?
“I don’t have a problem with Lou at all,” Bradley said. “It’s hard for me to get upset with a teammate. He’s the manager, he’s more than a teammate. Initially, I was just kind of shocked at how everything just happened suddenly.”
Bradley was surprised Piniella followed him into the clubhouse.
“He told me to get out of here, so I left,” Bradley said. “Then he continued to yell at me some more.”
Bradley signed a three-year, $30 million contract with the Cubs this past offseason, but has struggled at the plate, and was batting .237. He’s frustrated with his performance, and may lead the National League in helmets broken. Others on the Cubs have had fits — Carlos Zambrano took a bat to the Gatorade cooler at Wrigley Field and Ryan Dempster punched it with his left hand. On Friday, Carlos Marmol threw one of the Gatorade coolers, too.
But Bradley has topped them all in terms of repeat offenses. Piniella had enough.
“This has been going on for awhile,” Piniella said of Bradley’s tantrums. “I’ve talked to the other people, too. The first thing is you don’t want people getting hurt. I’ve talked to a couple other people here rather strongly about it. Yesterday, I was right in doing what I did. I probably should’ve just stay in the dugout. I heard him mumbling some things and I followed him up. I’m sorry it happened and I wish it hadn’t. That’s all I can say.”
— Carrie Muskat