Source: Padres left fielder Milton Bradley has torn ACL, will miss rest of season

Updated: September 24, 2007, 9:31 PM ET
Associated Press

SAN DIEGO -- Padres left fielder Milton Bradley will miss the rest of the season after he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee when he was spun to the ground by his manager during a blowup with an umpire.

Bradley, who helped spark the wild card-leading Padres during the season's second half, was ejected from Sunday's game by first base umpire Mike Winters, then hurt his knee during a bizarre scene when manager Bud Black spun him to the ground to keep him from going after the ump in the eighth inning of a 7-3 loss to Colorado.

Not only will the Padres be without Bradley for the final week and a possible playoff appearance, but they'll get little if any contribution from center fielder Mike Cameron, who has a torn ligament in his right thumb.

Cameron was hurt when he made a sliding attempt at Garrett Atkins' inside-the-park home run, then had Bradley step on his hand. Black said before Monday night's game at San Francisco that Cameron might be able to pinch-run this week, but that would be it.

The Padres, trying to reach the playoffs for the third straight year, entered Monday night's game with a half-game lead over Philadelphia in the wild-card race. San Diego was 2½ games behind first-place Arizona in the NL West with seven to play.

The Padres had won seven straight against last-place teams San Francisco and Pittsburgh before their offense went flat and they lost three straight to the streaking Rockies.

Baseball spokesman Rich Levin said the commissioner's office is looking into whether Bradley was baited by Winters. The investigation is headed by Mike Port, major league baseball's vice president of umpiring, who reports to executive vice president Jimmie Lee Solomon.

Players union general counsel Michael Weiner said the association is waiting to see whether MLB does something before deciding whether to take action.

Bradley, whose volatile temper has overshadowed his talent during his career, called Winters' action "the most unprofessional and most ridiculous thing I've ever seen."

"It's terrible. And now, because of him, my knee's hurt," Bradley said Sunday. "If this costs me my season because of that, he needs to be reprimanded. I'm taking some action. I'm not going to stand pat and accept this."

Bradley was playing in his third game after missing 12 because of another injury. Batting .313, Bradley hit his 11th homer earlier in the game.

As Bradley walked to the plate in the eighth, umpire Brian Runge asked the player if he had flipped his bat in the ump's direction after taking a called third strike to end the fifth.

"I said, 'Are you kidding me? That's ridiculous," Bradley said. "He said, 'Well, it was reported to me by the other umpires that you threw your bat at me.' And I said, 'That's completely ridiculous. I've done a lot of things. I'm trying to turn it around. I would never harm anybody."

Bradley singled, then asked Winters if he told Runge he threw his bat. "He goes, 'Yeah, you did.' I go, 'Are you kidding me? That's completely ridiculous. If I strike out and the inning's over, why are you looking at me? Everything's always about me."

Then, a fan heckled Winters.

"I pointed to the guy in the crowd, affirming it," Bradley said.

Bradley said Winters responded with a string of expletives.

"That's when I went at him, and he kicked me out," Bradley said.

First base coach Bobby Meacham began to restrain Bradley, and Black came running out. Bradley got away from Meacham, but Black grabbed him by the jersey.

Bradley tried to get free and, after a few seconds, Black spun Bradley around and the player collapsed. Bradley immediately grabbed his right knee and eventually had to be helped off the field.

"I was trying to pull Milton away from the argument," said Black, later ejected for arguing a checked-swing call against Adrian Gonzalez.

Crew chief Bruce Froemming wouldn't allow a reporter to speak with Winters.

Meacham defended Bradley, and said Winters used profanities.

"In 26 years of baseball, I can honestly say that's the most disconcerting conversation I have ever heard from an umpire to a player," Meacham said. "It was almost like he wanted to agitate the whole thing. He wanted to get Milton boiling for some reason. Milton, he held his cool. I was just appalled."

Padres CEO Sandy Alderson used to work in the commissioner's office, where one of his duties was overseeing umpires.

"We're not going to sit by and see an umpire bait a player," Alderson said Sunday. He added that if the commissioner's office concludes the situation was handled appropriately, "I'll be shocked."

Alderson and general manager Kevin Towers didn't immediately return calls seeking comment on Monday.


AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum in New York contributed to this report.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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