Bradley's time on DL shapes up to be short stay

Updated: May 7, 2006, 8:03 PM ET
Associated Press

OAKLAND, Calif. -- After debating what to do with Milton Bradley for several days, the Oakland Athletics placed their right fielder on the 15-day disabled list Sunday because of a strained muscle in his right side.

Milton Bradley

Bradley, who also has been hindered by a sprained right knee, had already missed nine straight games since hurting his knee in a game April 25 at Texas. The move is retroactive to April 27, meaning he would be eligible to come off the DL on Friday for the opener of a weekend series against the Yankees in New York.

"We're hoping that by the time the other five days elapse, he'll be ready to play," manager Ken Macha said before Oakland finished a three-game series against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. "My concern is to make sure he is going to be 100 percent healthy when we do bring him back."

The A's did not immediately make a corresponding move, but were discussing their options of what to do heading into a six-game road trip starting Tuesday in Toronto.

Oakland is beat up and needs bullpen help considering two relievers have been moved into the rotation to take the place of injured starters Rich Harden and Esteban Loaiza.

Bradley hit off a tee Saturday and was scheduled to take more swings off the tee Sunday. The A's didn't plan on sending Bradley on a rehab assignment but know he will need significant batting practice before he returns.

"He felt better today than he did yesterday, so we can step up the program a little bit," trainer Larry Davis said.

Bradley is batting .246 with three home runs and eight RBI in his first season with Oakland and had started the A's first 21 games before the injury.

The A's acquired the switch-hitting Bradley in a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Dec. 13 to upgrade their offense around Eric Chavez. Bradley, who became known for his volatile behavior last season that included a run-in with teammate Jeff Kent, has been a good fit so far in Oakland's laid-back clubhouse -- making friends with his teammates and offering hitting advice to youngsters such as Nick Swisher.

This has been a frustrating development for Bradley, who didn't play again after accusing Kent of a lack of leadership and an inability to deal with black players last Aug. 23. The following day, Bradley learned he had a serious left knee injury that required surgery.

Getting Bradley back into the batter's box for live BP will be the first necessary step to him being ready.

Oakland had hoped to see him bat right-handed Wednesday but it didn't happen. The injury hurts him rotating in either direction on swings.

"He requires extensive batting practice," Macha said. "This is Day 11. We'll see in Toronto."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press