Monday, May 25, 2009
Updated: May 26, 9:32 AM ET
Cubs' Bradley: Umpires retaliating
ESPN.com news services
Chicago Cubs right fielder Milton Bradley lashed out at Major League Baseball's umpires Sunday, saying they are forcing him to swing at bad pitches by widening his strike zone.
Bradley, suspended one game last month after an argument with umpire Larry Vanover, said he thought other umps were getting back at him for the incident.
"Unfortunately, I just think it's a lot of 'Oh, you did this to my colleague,' or 'We're going to get him any time we can,'" Bradley said, according to the Chicago Tribune. "'As soon as he gets two strikes, we're going to call whatever and see what he does. Let's try to ruin Milton Bradley.'
"It's just unfortunate. But I'm going to come out on top. I always do."
Bradley said his hitting strategy would remain the same, regardless of how he feels about the pitch calling from behind the plate.
"What am I supposed to do?" he said, according to the Tribune. "You lead the American League in OPS [in 2008], and two years in the top three in the league in on-base percentage. All of a sudden now, I come to Chicago and I can't see the ball no more? I don't know a strike from a ball?
"I don't think I'm doing anything wrong. There's a lot involved, and it's a lot of politics where there's nothing you can do about it."
On Monday, Cubs manager Lou Piniella told reporters Bradley should concentrate on his hitting and never mind the umpires.
''There's nothing good that can come out of it,'' Piniella said. ''What we need Milton to do is get to the point where he hits the ball the way he has in the past and getting on umpires is not a good solution.''