LOS ANGELES -- Milton Bradley is getting another fresh
The Los Angeles Dodgers unloaded the switch-hitting outfielder
Tuesday, sending him to the Oakland Athletics along with infielder
Antonio Perez for minor league outfielder Andre Ethier, the Texas
League player of the year.
"I couldn't be happier," Bradley said during a conference
call. "I'm playing major league baseball and having fun. I'm a
California guy -- it's exciting for me. I wish the Dodgers well,
wish their team well."
"As far as my dealings with Jeff Kent, we got along as well as
we could," Bradley said. "It didn't work for me."
Bradley didn't play after accusing Kent of a lack of leadership
and an inability to deal with African-American players on Aug. 23.
The following day, Bradley learned he had sustained serious
injuries to his left knee that required surgery.
Bradley became a parent for the first time Sunday, when his wife
gave birth to a son, Jeremiah.
General manager Ned Colletti, hired last month by the Dodgers,
didn't think a reconciliation was possible.
"I went into it with the idea of trying to keep him a Dodger,"
Colletti said. "It was clearer and clearer there was no way to
make this thing work. At every turn, I just got stopped. I got it
from a lot of different places including inside the clubhouse,
outside the clubhouse, people who have known him very well and have
known him for a long time."
Colletti said he didn't speak with Bradley until Tuesday, when
he informed him of the trade in a brief conversation.
Bradley said he hadn't thought much about a possible return to
"I know I'm going to be successful regardless," he said. "I'm
a no-nonsense guy. I laugh and joke with everybody, but when on the
field, I'm all about winning. I'm not going out there to just go
through the motions and have fun. I'm going out there to win."
A's GM Billy Beane has been looking to upgrade his offense.
"[Bradley] is a switch hitter who can hit around [Eric Chavez],
which is something we probably need pretty badly," Beane said.
The 27-year-old Bradley hit .290 with 13 homers and 38 RBI in
283 at-bats. He was limited to 75 games, also missing extensive
playing time because of a torn ligament in his right ring finger.
Bradley hit .267 with 19 homers and 67 RBI in 141 games for the
Dodgers in 2004, and .321 with 10 homers and 56 RBI in 101 games
for the Indians in 2003.
The 25-year-old Perez hit .297 with three homers and 23 RBI in
259 at-bats as a part-time infielder for the Dodgers last season.
Bradley has had several issues with his temper. He was suspended
for the final five games of the 2004 season when he slammed a
plastic bottle at the feet of a fan in the box seats in the right
field corner at Dodger Stadium after someone threw it on the field.
Nobody was injured.
He had anger management counseling during the offseason, and
kept his temper in control last season -- even when discussing Kent,
although his comments were scathing.
Then-Dodgers manager Jim Tracy later said he was disappointed
Bradley was as candid as he was with the media, saying he had told
the player to "keep it in-house."
Colletti said he didn't speak with Kent concerning Bradley's
Colletti said he believes Ethier has a chance to be "a very
good everyday player in the big leagues" as a corner outfielder,
but not right away.
The 23-year-old Ethier will probably begin next season in
Triple-A, Colletti said, adding he could arrive at the big-league
level sometime next season or in 2007.
Ethier, who bats and throws left-handed, hit .319 in 131 games
with 18 homers and 80 RBI for Midland of the Texas League. He also
played in four games with Triple-A Sacramento of the PCL.
Ethier was a second-round draft pick of the A's in 2003 after
playing at Arizona State.