Bradley's suspension reduced
Outfielder appeals, will serve one game instead of two
CHICAGO -- Cubs outfielder Milton Bradley's suspension was reduced from two games to one, and he will serve it on Friday.
General manager Jim Hendry said he received an e-mail in the seventh inning Thursday, saying the suspension had been trimmed in half and that the fine remained the same.
"I personally don't agree with that," Hendry said of the penalty. "I didn't think his actions warranted any suspension at the time and as weeks have gone by, I still feel that way."
Bradley was suspended for making contact with home-plate umpire Larry Vanover after arguing a called third strike on April 16 in a pinch-hit at-bat. It was Bradley's first at-bat at Wrigley Field as a Cub. He'd been slowed by a sore groin.
Bob Watson, vice president of on-field operations for Major League Baseball, issued the suspension April 18, saying Bradley "aggressively argued balls and strikes" and made contact with Vanover.
"Initially, my agent was like, 'Don't do it; take the days off,'" Bradley said of his decision to appeal. "But I was like, 'I can't do that.' I have to stand up for myself."
Bradley had a hearing eight days ago in Houston. Hendry said as far as he could tell, there was no intentional contact by Bradley, no swearing, no threatening.
"As I said at the hearing, I don't know how you wouldn't have been upset [by the calls]," Hendry said. "I personally felt he showed great restraint by not getting upset with the 3-0 call. ... I thought he did what you want a professional player to do that cares under those circumstances, and that's get your money's worth and get out. I think he did that. I think the history of the game has shown that's appropriate behavior. In this particular case, I'm disappointed in the decision."
Hendry was surprised to hear the umpires were filing a report after the game.
"I felt there were some inaccuracies in the way it was reported, to be honest," Hendry said.
Perhaps Bradley's reputation had something to do with the suspension?
"That's unfair, if it is," Hendry said. "People are entitled to fresh starts. People are entitled to move on. I know the guy talking right now, 'I'm guilty of many mistakes in my life and I've gotten a chance to move on and progress.'
"When you factor in how bad he wanted to succeed in his first at-bat at Wrigley Field, and in our opinion, two of the three strikes were balls, I would've been disappointed if he acted any other way," Hendry said. "For me, for sure, there would've been some swearing involved."
Bradley could've taken the easy way out and served the suspension.
"I applaud him for appealing it," Hendry said. "I think by following the appeal process, he felt strongly in this case he was right, and I certainly supported him doing it. Did we expect to have it changed? I thought it would be. I thought it would be no suspension and a reduced fine."
Bradley's reaction to the penalty?
"It figures," Bradley said. "I never get treated fairly. It's just me. It's exactly what I expected."
Why did he expect it?
"I'm Milton Bradley," he said. "You expect me to be crazy and throw stuff and do whatever. Everything's thought out. I don't do anything spur of the moment, although it may seem like that. There's a reason for everything. Things happen and you move on. I don't have any regrets in life."
This will be the third suspension in Bradley's career. He served time June 24-27, 2004, for his role in a June 1 argument with umpire Terry Craft, and again Sept. 29 until the end of the '04 season for arguing with an umpire Sept. 28, after a fan threw a bottle on the field.
Bradley did not feel any penalty was justified for the April incident this year.
"[Vanover] himself testified that I didn't curse at him, I didn't call him a name, didn't threaten him," Bradley said. "All I told him was that the ball was low, inside, repeatedly and walked off. It's just unfortunate. I'm disappointed but it's done, I don't have to answer any more questions about it after this and we can move on."
Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster supported his teammate.
"It's the principle of the thing," Dempster said. "When you don't feel justified in getting suspended, why take games just to take them? For him, it's unfair, because I don't think he was trying to bump anybody. Unfortunately, those things happen. I don't know if it's because of an old reputation he has or whatever it is. The nice deal is it's over and done with ... and he'll be right back in the lineup on Saturday."
Bradley had never appealed a suspension before because, as he said, he accepted responsibility for his actions.
"Unfortunately, the guy made a bad call, I reacted and I have to deal with the consequences," Bradley said.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.