Monday, February 16, 2009

Durability Issues Linger for Cubs OF Milton Bradley

Questions continue to linger over the durability of newly acquired Cubs outfielder Milton Bradley, who despite All-Star caliber productivity last season may be forced to sit out occasionally as the result of an ugly onfield scuffle a year and a half ago.

Bradley -- set to bat fourth or fifth for manager Lou Piniella after signing a $10 million, annual, three-year contract -- missed some 200 plate appearances for the Rangers last year and frequently had to appear as a designated hitter when he could not take the field.

Refusing to answer questions about the strength of his injured right knee when questioned recently by The Chicago Tribune, Bradley claimed he would play in every single game without taking any time off.

"I wouldn't count him out" general manager Jim Hendry told the newspaper, but conceded the team will be satisfied if he appears in a projected 135 of the 162 regular season games.

Bradley, 30, who has not had a healthy season for five years, is thought to be battling residual effects of a 2007 knee injury that resulted from being tackled by Padres manager Bud Black as Black attempted to keep him from attacking umpire Mike Winters over a questionable call on the basepaths.

Having undergone anger management training -- Bradley has reported he has since begun to overcome his problems with authority figures. Associates have blamed his personality problems on the alleged difficulties between his father and mother when he was a boy.