NEW YORK -- Rookie center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. went to Twitter Wednesday to defend himself against published suggestions that attitude factored into his demotion to Triple-A Pawtucket last month.
Say what you want about me as a ball player but trying to tarnish my character or my work ethic isn't going to fly..truth will reveal itself
— Jackie Bradley Jr. (@JackieBradleyJr) September 3, 2014
Bradley led off and played center field Wednesday night for the PawSox in the first game of their International League semifinals against the Syracuse Chiefs.
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said that Bradley will return to the Red Sox at some point this month. In 112 games with the Red Sox, the rookie played exceptional defense but posted a slash line of .216/.288/.290/.578, then put up a similar line since his demotion (.212/.246/.273/.519).
Cherington refuted any suggestion that there were attitude issues leading to Bradley’s demotion. “Absolutely not,” he said.
Bradley went through an 0-for-35 slump, the longest in the majors this season, shortly before being optioned to Pawtucket and was replaced by Mookie Betts, who has thrived since his promotion, especially at the plate.
Cherington said Bradley was sent down to develop a routine “that worked for him” and that it would be easier for him to do so in Pawtucket.
In an interview Aug. 10 with ESPNBoston.com, Bradley mentioned that he had been open to the many suggestions made to him by others about how to alter his approach at the plate, but was inclined to follow his own counsel.
“I’m going to get back to being me, my athletic swing. I’m getting all the other clutter out of the way. I’m no longer tinkering with, 'Try this, try that.’
“There’s a point to where you listen and you try. Well, when I was doing it the way I was accustomed to doing, it wasn’t 'trying,’ it was just doing. It’s all I’ve ever done in this game. I never gave any thought about doing it, I just did it. That’s what I’m going to get back to doing.”
Bradley is hardly the first player to decide that the help he was being offered, however well-intended, was not improving matters. It’s fairly commonplace, in fact, to hear a player after he breaks out of a slump to say, “I went back to what has always worked for me.”
It’s harder to make that argument, of course, when you aren’t producing.
“Jackie has a routine that has worked for him to this point,” Cherington said. “And now he just has to find the way for him to be successful offensively, a little bit more successful offensively at the major league level. Does that require an adjustment? It may. Ultimately he’s going to find an answer to that.”