Mariners' Milton Bradley seeks help for personal issues [updated]
Milton Bradley had a meltdown Tuesday. That's not unusual.
But what he did Wednesday was, because 12 hours after storming out of the ballpark during a game his Seattle Mariners were losing, Bradley returned to Safeco Field to ask Manager Don Wakamatsu and General Manager Jack Zduriencik for professional help in dealing with unspecified personal issues.
Bradley, a former Long Beach Poly standout who played two seasons for the Dodgers, has a long history of anger-related blowouts during his 10-year big league career. The latest incident came in the sixth inning of Tuesday's loss to Tampa Bay. After taking a called third strike with the bases loaded, Bradley was removed from the lineup. He then gathered his things and went into the clubhouse, where he changed and left the ballpark.
Mariners executives said Bradley was upset over his poor play, which includes a .214 batting average and 24 strikeouts in 70 at-bats, and asked the team to help him find a way to deal with self-imposed pressure. But it was unclear Wednesday whether other personal, off-field issues might also be bothering Bradley.
Zduriencik said Bradley told that him that issues have put him in a position in which he can't compete the way he expects and that "it's been a long time coming."
Bradley was expected to be in uniform and on the Seattle bench for Wednesday's game against Tampa Bay, and the team said it expects him to be at Safeco for this weekend's series with the Angels. But Zduriencik said he did not know when Bradley would return to the lineup, saying his status is day to day.
"He's going through some things in his life right now that are very personal and very emotional," Zduriencik said. "We firmly believe that we manage people first. Certainly we are about winning baseball games ... but most important are the employees that work with us. We will join together and help him receive the assistance that he needs."
In addition to meeting with the Seattle brass Wednesday, Bradley also kept a speaking engagement at a south Seattle elementary school, where he gave an emotional talk, according to those in attendance. The topic? Overcoming obstacles.
-- Kevin Baxter in Seattle
Photo: Milton Bradley. Credit: Ed Zurga, AP.