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Friday, June 26, 2009
Bradley leaves game after at-bat

ESPNChicago.com

Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella and Milton Bradley had words in the dugout after the right fielder's at-bat in the sixth inning of Friday's victory against the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.

Bradley was removed from the game and later spotted in street clothes heading to the players' parking lot.

"I told him to take his uniform off," Piniella said in his postgame news conference. "He threw his helmet off and smashed a water cooler. I just told him to take his uniform off and go home. I followed him up into the clubhouse and we exchanged some words.

"This has been a common occurrence. I've looked the other way a lot and I'm done with it. I'm not happy that this happened. But at the same time, it was time."

But Bradley, playing for his seventh team in nine-plus seasons, does have a long history of being volatile.

"It's something I promise you won't be happening again," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said.

Bradley has already been suspended for one game this season after arguing with umpire Larry Vanover when he was called out on strikes with the bases loaded April 16. It was his very first at-bat at Wrigley Field after signing a $30 million contract during the offseason. The umpire crew contended Bradley's hat made slight contact with Vanover.

With San Diego in the pennant chase in 2007, he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee when he was spun to the ground by Padres manager Bud Black, who was trying to keep him from umpire Mike Winters. Bradley claimed he was baited by Winters, who was suspended for the final five days of the regular season and didn't work the postseason.

Bradley was suspended twice during the 2004 season. He drew a four-game penalty in June after tossing a bag of balls onto the field following an ejection. He was suspended for five games in September after slamming a plastic bottle at the feet of a fan in the right-field seats at Dodger Stadium after someone threw it on the field.

He had been traded to the Dodgers before the season by the Cleveland Indians after having a dugout confrontation with then-manager Eric Wedge during spring training.

He also criticized then-Dodgers teammate Jeff Kent in 2005, saying Kent couldn't deal with black players.

Bradley was not in the clubhouse after the game. Hendry said he planned to talk about the incident with Piniella, and the two would meet with Bradley before Saturday's game.

"Obviously today what happened was disappointing," Hendry said. "I'm not going to ever have a player hear something from the media or on the radio before I speak. But we'll have the conversation, that's for sure, before tomorrow and hopefully we'll move forward and put some of our troubles behind us."

Bradley has been clearly frustrated by his offensive struggles since coming to Chicago. After going 0 for 3 Friday, he's hitting .237 with five homers and 16 RBIs.

"We'll talk about it more tomorrow," Piniella said. "I'm not happy this thing happened, I'm really not. At the same time, it was time."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.