10/21 Rudy on Milton Bradley
GM Jim Hendry says Rudy Jaramillo’s success with Milton Bradley in Texas had nothing to do with the Cubs’ decision to hire him as the Major League team’s hitting coach. Bradley led the American League in on-base percentage in 2008 and batted .321 under Jaramillo’s tutelage. Hendry had suspended Bradley at the end of the ’09 season for the final 15 games, and was talking to teams in an attempt to trade the outfielder and the $21 million still owed on his contract.
“We play the cards that we have,” Hendry said Wednesday at the news conference at Wrigley Field announcing Jaramillo as the Cubs new hitting coach. “Milton’s on the Cubs’ roster. That’s how we go about it until somebody’s not on the Cubs roster. [Jaramillo’s relationship with Bradley] didn’t have any connection. We could’ve had 20 different guys on our roster and Rudy would still be sitting here today as our No. 1 guy.”
When asked about Bradley, Jaramillo had nothing but positive things to say.
“This young man has all the talent in the world,” Jaramillo said. “He worked hard. When he came in [to Texas], I knew my job was, ‘Hey, I have to win this kid over.’ It took me a while. He was a good student. He had an outstanding year for us. He still has a lot of baseball left. We got along great. I knew kind of what buttons to push. He started trusting me, and we started to get that rapport and things started to get better and better and he led the league in on-base percentage and slugging, so his ability is still there, there’s no doubt in my mind.”
Jaramillo did not talk to Bradley this past season, but did talk to Cubs manager Lou Piniella a couple times to try to help get the outfielder back on track. Would he like to work with Bradley again?
“That’s not my choice,” Jaramillo said. “I’ll work with anybody. I can get along with anyone. I don’t know what his status is or whatever. I have no problem [with Bradley].”
— Carrie Muskat