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Thursday, June 28, 2007
Report: Padres to acquire troubled outfielder Bradley from A's

Associated Press

SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego Padres agreed to acquire temperamental outfielder Milton Bradley from the Oakland Athletics on Thursday night, the second time in just more than a week that the team decided to add a player with a history of blowups.

Milton Bradley

Bradley

The Padres will send Oakland a minor league pitcher, several people with knowledge of the deal said, speaking on condition of anonymity because it had yet to be announced.

Bradley could join the team during a weekend series at the Los Angeles Dodgers, one of his former teams.

General manager Kevin Towers confirmed in an e-mail Thursday that the Padres had interest in the outfielder, but declined further comment.

Manager Bud Black said he hadn't spoken with Towers on Thursday, an off day for the team, and couldn't confirm the deal. But Black said he knew the Padres had discussed Bradley the day before, and added that it was more than likely that Bradley would play left field.

Earlier Thursday, right fielder Brian Giles came off a five-week stay on the disabled list in time for the series opener Friday at Dodger Stadium. The two-time defending NL West champion Padres have the slimmest lead possible in a tight race in the division, one percentage point ahead of Los Angeles and one-half game ahead of Arizona.

If healthy, Bradley could be an upgrade over the tandem of Terrmel Sledge and Russell Branyan in left.

Oakland designated Bradley for assignment a week earlier, cutting ties with a player who was expected to play an important role on the team this season.

The day before the A's designated Bradley for assignment, the Padres obtained embattled catcher Michael Barrett from the Chicago Cubs.

Barrett and Carlos Zambrano got into a skirmish in the dugout June 1 and it carried over into the clubhouse where Barrett got a black eye and needed stitches in his lip.

Less than two weeks later, Barrett and pitcher Rich Hill had a verbal exchange in the dugout during a game against the Seattle Mariners.

An emotional player, Barrett was the central figure in a brawl with the White Sox last season. He set it off by punching A.J. Pierzynski in the jaw after he'd been run over at the plate. Barrett was suspended for 10 games.

The addition of Bradley to an otherwise laid-back clubhouse could raise eyebrows.

However, before he traded for Barrett, Towers said he spoke with pitcher Greg Maddux, Barrett's former teammate with the Cubs, and was assured that the catcher would mesh well with the club.

"He told me that pretty much anybody could fit into this clubhouse," Towers said the day Barrett joined the Padres.

Bradley, who agreed to a one-year, $4 million deal with Oakland in the offseason, has always been known as much for his volatile behavior as his baseball skills. In 2005, he accused Dodgers teammate Jeff Kent of a lack of leadership and an inability to deal with black players.

Bradley was also 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.

Bradley had two run-ins with police during traffic stops in Ohio, one that landed him a three-day stay in jail and another that nearly sent him back for a second visit. When he was with the Dodgers, police responded three times to Bradley's home on domestic violence calls, but he wasn't arrested or charged.

The A's designated Bradley for assignment to avoid a logjam in the outfield with the emergence of rookie Travis Buck and the return of other players from injuries.

Bradley had been on the disabled list three times this year.

Asked how he was feeling two days before being designated for assignment, Bradley curtly responded, "I'm healthy and on the bench." Bradley was activated from the DL the following day and went 0-for-3 with a walk.

Bradley first was shelved from April 23 to May 10 because of a strained left hamstring. He went on the DL a second time May 15-29 when the hamstring flared up again, before being sidelined a third time June 3 with a calf injury.

His missed 51 games in all with the injuries and has had five stints on the disabled list in two seasons with Oakland. He was hitting .292 with two homers and seven RBIs in 65 at-bats this season.