Bradley tossed again, Wakamatsu defends

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bradley headshot.JPGThings could be going better for new Mariners outfielder Milton Bradley, who was ejected for a second time in three days Friday night after exchanging words with home plate umpire Jon Merry following a questionable called third strike. 

Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu immediately came to the defense of his outfielder, and seems to think umpires are targeting Bradley specifically.  Here’s what he told the Seattle Times’ Geoff Baker after Friday’s 2-6 Cactus League loss to the Reds:

“To me, it’s almost like a witch hunt,” said Wak. “I mean, it’s almost embarrassing to me when egos get involved to the point where they don’t
even give a guy a chance. … Again, I think it’s pretty blatant that some guys have it out for him.”

The conspiracy talk may be overdoing it, but it’s pretty evident that Bradley’s reputation is going to leave him with little leeway in arguments no matter the jersey he is wearing.  He needs to be careful this season, because we’re sure Wakamatsu and the rest of the Mariners’ management team will quickly tire of defending his actions.  Bradley, 31, batted .257/.378/.397 last season for the Cubs.  He’s just one year removed from a career-best .321/.436/.563 batting line.

Padres announce Pat Murphy won’t return as manager in 2016

Pat Murphy
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Per Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Padres have announced that interim manager Pat Murphy won’t return as the team’s manager in 2016. Haudricourt adds that Brewres manager Craig Counsell tried to get Murphy on his staff, and says to look for Murphy to join the Brewers for the 2016 season.

Murphy led the Padres to a 42-53 record after Bud Black was fired in June. He had previously managed for two years with Single-A Eugene in 2011-12, and at Triple-A Tucson and El Paso in 2013-14.

Former major leaguer Phil Nevin is a candidate for the Padres’ vacant managing position, according to Scott Miller of Bleacher Report.

Royals clinch home field advantage, best record in the American League

Lorenzo Cain
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With a 6-1 win over the Twins in Sunday’s season finale, the Royals clinched the best record in the American League, which nets them home field advantage in the ALDS and ALCS. The Royals stand at 95-67 while the Blue Jays, who lost on Sunday, finish at 93-69.

95-67 is the Royals’ best record since finishing 97-65 in 1980, when they lost the World Series to the Phillies. Their division title is their first since 1985.

In the ALDS, which starts on Thursday, the Royals will host the winner of the AL Wild Card game between the Astros and Yankees. They are looking to avenge last year’s World Series loss, in seven games, to the Giants. The Blue Jays will host the Rangers in the other ALDS series.