Milton Bradley placed on restricted list

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bradley rotoworld headshot.jpgThe Mariners placed outfielder Milton Bradley on the restricted list Thursday to allow him a little more time for reflection on the emotional issues that caused him to leave the clubhouse in the middle of Tuesday’s game.

Bradley is not allowed to be in uniform or travel with the team and can’t return to action for five days.  The move cleared a spot on the 25-man roster for Michael Saunders, who will provide outfield depth in Bradley’s absence.  Saunders, 23, was batting just .200/.293/.213 with five RBI in 80 at-bats for Triple-A Tacoma but the M’s need bodies.

Bradley, 32, is hitting .214/.313/.371 with two homers and 12 RBI through 70 at-bats this season.  He asked for “help” from the Mariners on Wednesday and, according to the Tacoma News Tribune’s Ryan Divish, had his first therapy session this afternoon.

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

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All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉