Mom: Bradley's travails affected focus

Updated: September 23, 2009, 10:53 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

The mother of banished Chicago Cubs outfielder Milton Bradley said her son would consider returning to the team if it will have him back.

The Cubs suspended the volatile Bradley on Sunday for the rest of the season for what amounted to conduct detrimental to the team, one day after he criticized the franchise in a newspaper interview.

Milton eats, sleeps and drinks baseball. He loves it. That's all he wants to do.

-- Charlena Rector, mother of
Cubs outfielder Milton Bradley

Speaking to the Chicago Sun-Times on Tuesday, Charlena Rector said: "All the people on TV keep saying, 'Oh, Milton has played his last game for the Cubs.'" But, she added, that won't be the case if Bradley has any say with management.

"Milton eats, sleeps and drinks baseball. He loves it. That's all he wants to do," Rector told the newspaper.

Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said he decided to send Bradley home after learning of the player's remarks in the (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald of Illinois. Bradley, who was scratched from Saturday's lineup with a sore left knee, was quoted as saying, "You understand why they haven't won in 100 years here."

As of Tuesday, the Cubs still hadn't filed any formal papers with Major League Baseball, the players' union or Bradley's agents outlining the suspension. He remains absent from the team and it is still unclear whether the suspension is with or without pay.

Bradley has two years remaining on a three-year, $30 million contract that he signed as a free agent last offseason. Hendry said Sunday he did not know if the relationship can be salvaged.

"Recently, it's become intolerable to hear Milton talk about our great fans the way he has," Hendry said. "We pride ourselves on having the greatest fans in baseball, so at this time we felt it was best to send him home for the rest of the season."

The Cubs haven't won the World Series since 1908 and, though they had high postseason hopes entering 2009, they are 78-72 through Tuesday and out of the playoff races.

According to his mother, Bradley's unhappiness in Chicago stems in part from racism that his 3-year-old son has faced at school.

"When racism hit his 3-year-old baby in school, he couldn't take that," Rector said in a radio interview earlier this week, according to the Sun-Times. "Parents, teachers and their kids called him the n-word. He didn't even know it was a bad word until his mom told him."

When asked why her son shared the information only with her this season, Rector said, "Milton is a quiet person. Stuff like that, he keeps to himself. He doesn't want to talk about that because he doesn't think anybody cares. It is a heartbreaking situation."

She believes it affected his play. Bradley struggled at the plate, batting .257 with 12 homers and 40 RBIs this season, and was booed vigorously by home fans at Wrigley Field.

"I watched his swing, and I could tell what was wrong," Rector told the Sun-Times. "His mind wasn't on baseball. He was thinking about all of these other things."

Information from The Associated Press and ESPN.com senior writer Jayson Stark was used in this report.

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