Lee: Byrd, Bradley comparisons unfair
Asked about possible racial profiling among some media members in comparing Byrd and Bradley, Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee didn't mince words.
"It's ridiculous," Lee told Bruce Levine and Jonathan Hood on ESPN 1000's "Talkin' Baseball" Saturday morning. "If it was a white guy who came over [to the Cubs] would he be [called] the 'anti-Milton Bradley'? It just makes no sense. Marlon's a completely different guy. He wasn't traded for Milton. He signed here as a free agent, so why even bring Milton Bradley's name into it? It really makes no sense and it's just, again, the media trying to make something out of nothing."
Bradley's tenure with Cubs was tumultuous, with the switch-hitting right fielder accusing some fans of hurling racially charged taunts his way at Wrigley Field.
Lee said that Bradley's accusations and similar comments from former Cub Jacque Jones don't help in luring African-American players to the North Side.
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"It's definitely not a positive when you're looking at coming to Chicago," Lee said. "But I think overall, the positives do outweigh the negatives and we're baseball players, so we're pretty good at kind of blocking out all of that outside stuff and focusing on in between the lines. And in between the lines, Chicago's a good place to play."
Lee praised Byrd, saying he "covers a lot of ground" as a center fielder and noted that moving Kosuke Fukudome to his natural position at right field improves the team's defense.
Lee, whose contract is up after this season, reiterated that he's not focused on his future, and is solely thinking about the season at hand.
"I've enjoyed my time in Chicago," Lee said. "I would be more than happy to finish my career in Chicago. But I don't expect anything out of them as far as approaching me. I'm really putting it out of my mind and just enjoying spring training, getting ready for the season and doing everything in my power to help this team win."