Mariners' Milton Bradley will compete for playing time at spring training
Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said that Milton Bradley, who was arrested last week for allegedly threatening a woman, is "part of the organization" and will complete this spring for playing time in left field and at designated hitter.
Seattle Times staff reporter
The Mariners are planning to have Milton Bradley compete for a starting job in spring training despite his arrest last week, Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said Tuesday.
The Mariners open their spring camp in Peoria, Ariz., with pitchers and catchers on Feb. 13, followed by the full squad reporting on Feb. 18. Before that, however, Bradley has a court date on Feb. 8 in Southern California pertaining to his arrest for allegedly threatening a woman, a felony charge.
"Obviously, there's a legal process that Milton has to go through," Zduriencik said. "As of right now, he's a part of the organization, and we're planning on him coming into spring training and competing for a job."
Zduriencik said he has talked to Bradley since the arrest but declined to go into details about the conversation, other than to relate that Bradley said he had been working hard to prepare for the season.
Bradley, who turns 33 in April, was limited to 73 games last year and hit just .205. He was on the restricted list from May 6-19 after asking the team for help in dealing with "emotional stress" from personal issues.
Bradley was on the disabled list from July 31 through the end of the season. He underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on Aug. 17.
When healthy, Bradley split time between left field and designated hitter, and Zduriencik envisions a similar role.
"I think he competes for those two positions — probably more toward left field," he said. "Because he's a switch-hitter, when he's healthy, there's a degree of versatility."
Asked if Bradley's status could change following the Feb. 8 court hearing, Zduriencik said, "I don't think I'm in a position to comment at the moment. He's a member of the organization, he's signed. Our stand right now is that he's going to come in and compete for a starting position."
Bradley will make $12 million in 2011 in the final year of the three-year, $30-million contract he signed originally with the Chicago Cubs. The Mariners obtained him from the Cubs in a trade for Carlos Silva on Dec. 18, 2009.
The Mariners added bullpen depth Tuesday by signing former Orioles closer Chris Ray to a minor-league contract and inviting him to spring training.
Ray, 29, saved 33 games (in 38 attempts) for the Orioles in 2006, and 18 more in 2007 before arm troubles derailed him. He underwent Tommy John elbow surgery in August 2007 and has spent time on the disabled list in each of the past four seasons. Ray missed the entire 2008 season but returned to appear in 46 games for the Orioles in 2009 (0-4, 7.27 earned-run average).
Last year, Ray was a combined 5-0 with a 3.72 ERA in 63 games for the Texas Rangers and San Francisco Giants. Ray began the season with the Rangers, going 2-0 with a 3.41 ERA in 35 games. On July 1, the Rangers traded Ray to the Giants, where he went 3-0 with a 4.13 ERA in 28 games. Ray didn't appear in the postseason for the Giants.
Arbitration eligible, Ray was not tendered a contract by the Giants following the season, making him a free agent.
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