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Milton Bradley said unrealistic expectations and poor communication, and not the player himself, were to blame for his struggles during his one season with the Chicago Cubs.
In an interview with The New York Times, Bradley -- who was dealt in the offseason to the Seattle Mariners for pitcher Carlos Silva -- pointed to his career record to show what happened in Chicago.
Two years ago, I played, and I was good. I go to Chicago, not good. I've been good my whole career. So, obviously, it was something with Chicago, not me.” -- Mariners outfielder Milton Bradley
"Two years ago, I played, and I was good," Bradley told The Times. "I go to Chicago, not good. I've been good my whole career. So, obviously, it was something with Chicago, not me."
Bradley, who has played for eight teams in 11 seasons, had a career-best season for the Texas Rangers in 2008, batting .321 with 22 home runs and 77 RBIs. Looking to add left-handed punch to their lineup, the Cubs signed Bradley to a three-year, $30 million contract before the 2009 season.
Bradley struggled to live up to the contract and manage the pressures of playing in a big market. He batted .257 with 12 home runs and 40 RBIs.
"Just no communication," Bradley told the paper, referring to his Cubs tenure. "I never hit more than 22 homers in my career, and all of a sudden I get to Chicago and they expect me to hit 30. It doesn't make sense. History tells you I'm not going to hit that many. Just a lot of things that try to make me a player I'm not."
Cubs manager Lou Piniella on Thursday disagreed with Bradley's assertion.
"We expected him to bat fifth in our lineup," Piniella said. "Milton did get off to a struggling start for us in 2009 but that was last year. We wish him well, and we hope Silva does well here."
The Mariners are counting on Bradley, a .277 career hitter, to be their No. 3 hitter.
"We made the deal because we were looking for someone to hit in the middle of our lineup," Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik told the paper. "Milton fit that spot. We like what goes on here. We have a lot of faith and trust in [manager] Don [Wakamatsu]. He allows players to be who they are, and that's all we want Milton to do: Come here and be a productive player for us, and have fun. That's the environment we want to create."