Bradley not warm to playing right

VERO BEACH, Fla. -- Milton Bradley reported a day early and
was just as quick to predict he'll be the center fielder for the
Los Angeles Dodgers.

"I'm starting and I'm playing," Bradley said Tuesday at
Dodgertown. "My thoughts are I'm the center fielder and that's
where I'm going to be playing."

Dodgers manager Jim Tracy wasn't as committed to Bradley in
center. He did say he has a good idea who will be the starter
against San Francisco on April 5, but refused to elaborate.

With the addition of outfielder J.D. Drew, who patrolled right
field for six years in St. Louis and then last year in Atlanta,
Bradley could be shuffled to that position.

The reasoning would be that Drew, who came to the Dodgers saying
he wanted to move to center, would have less chance of aggravating
his oft-injured knee not having to deal with the corner caroms of
right field.

Those caroms often force outfielders to field balls with their
backs to the field and then turn and throw, which could cause Drew
to wrench his knee.

"There is not an opening-day center fielder right now," Tracy
said. "We're going to see all three guys [including left fielder
Jayson Werth] in center field during spring training."

Tracy went on to say that Werth will be in left when the season
starts, leaving Drew and Bradley to battle for center.

Drew also reported to camp Tuesday, but left quickly because he
was ill and did not speak to the media.

Moving Bradley out of center would not be unprecedented. It
happened last season after the team acquired Steve Finley for the
playoff push.

Bradley said that was a special circumstaance because he was told
the team needed Finley to make the playoffs.

"I thought that our best chance to make the playoffs was to get
Steve Finley, so I said, 'No doubt, I'll move to right,' " Bradley
said. "But I was told it was only temporary."

Drew has played just 30 games in center the last three years,
but did play 97 at the position for the Cardinals in 1999. Bradley,
known for explosive behavior, did not seem perturbed by Drew's
request to play center.

"It doesn't matter. It's all right," he said. "I'm coming in
here thinking I'm going to play my rightful position. I'm the best
center fielder in camp and that's where I expect to be playing."