We know it’s early, but we’re getting a little concerned about the health of Milton Bradley. Bradley has only played in 1 of the Cubs spring games thus far, but he was removed from the game earlier than expected because of tightness in his left thigh. Bradley took batting practice with the team on Monday and is expected to play DH for the Cubs in today’s game against the Oakland A’s. If all goes well, Bradley should be back in right field for Friday’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Cubs are saying all the right things – it’s way too early during the spring to push Bradley too hard and the Cubs want to take their time and make sure he is healthy for the start of the regular season. Cubs Manager Lou Pinella summed it up like this: “Let’s judge this thing April 6. Let’s not judge it in Spring Training. Let’s give this young man every opportunity to get 100 percent and get him strong and that’s what we’ll use Spring Training for. We don’t want him healthy right now – - we’d like to have him healthy now – - but our goal is to have him healthy April 6 and ready to go.”
Great – the Cubs one big splash in an otherwise peculiar off-season is already battling a leg injury. Bradley has only played 100 games in 3 of his 9 MLB seasons. In 2003 and 2004, Bradley played most of his games in the outfield, but last year (a year in which he played in 126 games), Bradley largely served as the DH for the Texas Rangers, playing only 20 games in the field. This does not bode well for the Cubs. Let’s hope Bradley and the Cubs are preparing Bradley properly this spring. The off-season goal was for the Cubs to get “more left-handed” on offense, so if Bradley isn’t in the lineup, and the Cubs have to rely more heavily on Reed Johnson and Kosuke Fukodome on a daily basis, it could put a lot of pressure on the Cubs offense early in the season.