Outfielder also fined; Tracy suspended 1 game

Updated: June 4, 2004, 4:45 PM ET
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- Talented and temperamental Dodgers center fielder Milton Bradley was suspended for four games Thursday for his tantrum earlier this week after an ejection.

Dodgers manager Jim Tracy was suspended for one game. Bradley and Tracy also were fined undisclosed amounts by Bob Watson, baseball's vice president of on-field operations.

Milton Bradley
Milton Bradley isn't afraid to show his emotions on the field.
Bradley has filed an appeal of his suspension and is expected to be in the lineup Friday when the Dodgers play the Diamondbacks at Bank One Ballpark. Tracy cannot appeal his one-game suspension and must sit out Friday's game, leaving bench coach Jim Riggleman to handle the managerial duties.

Asked whether the penalty was excessive, Dodgers general manager Paul DePodesta said, "I don't think that's for me to judge."

"I would just say, in general, Major League Baseball's made the decision. At this point, we need to adhere to it," he said on a conference call.

DePodesta also said he didn't know if Bradley's turbulent past had anything to do with the penalty.

Bradley is hitting .271 with seven home runs and 22 RBI for the NL West leaders. He was suspended for his "reckless and inappropriate conduct."

Bradley was ejected by umpire Terry Craft, apparently over balls-and-strikes, when he entered the batter's box in the sixth inning of Tuesday night's 4-1 loss to Milwaukee.

Tracy restrained Bradley, who then took off his batting gloves and left them near home plate with his bat and helmet.

When Bradley reached the top step of the dugout, he grabbed the ball bag and tossed balls onto the field. He also threw a ball to the warning track in left field.

While the ball boys picked up, fans in the left-field stands threw debris onto the field, causing play to be held up for several more minutes.

Umpire Joe West confiscated Bradley's bat, batting gloves and helmet. On Wednesday, Bradley's belongings were returned to him.

Bradley, 26, has star potential, but also has shown a volatile side. Cleveland traded him to his hometown Dodgers right before the season began after Bradley had a run-in with Indians manager Eric Wedge.

Bradley hit .321 with 10 homers and 56 RBI and stole a team-leading 17 bases last season, all while missing the final six weeks because of a lower back injury.

Along with going on the disabled list four times in two seasons, Bradley has had other problems. Last year, he had disputes with Dodgers catcher Paul Lo Duca and Yankees first baseman Jason Giambi, and threw his helmet and bat in the direction of plate umpire Bruce Froemming.

"When we traded for Milton, I think we knew everything that came along with it," DePodesta said. "We knew the past, we don't necessarily think that everything's going to be completely different because he came to a different place. That's fine. I would take nine Milton Bradleys if I could get them.

"In the first 50 games we've had him, he's been nothing but a model citizen and a good teammate. I've seen him make efforts to avoid confrontation. I think Milton's making a concerted effort."

When asked if Bradley's behavior was acceptable, DePodesta replied: "I don't want to comment on anybody's behavior that night."

DePodesta said he didn't plan on speaking with Bradley about the suspension.

"Milton and I have had different conversations, not over something like this," DePodesta said. "Milton doesn't need me to tell him we'd rather have him playing."


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

ALSO SEE