The Chicago Cubs newest outfielder – that’s Milton Bradley, in case you couldn’t tell from the cheesy, standard set up – dropped a bit of a bombshell this week when discussing his time with the Rangers. Bradley managed more games there than he has in a while, but he was still out of the lineup with a myriad of injuries throughout the year.
And last year was one of the good years for Bradley’s health. In a recent chit chat, Bradley mused on what it means to be “hurt.”
And his thoughts are simultaneously surprising, and not terribly surprising.
So here are the offending quotes:
“If I’m being paid, and I’ve got the commitment to me that I give to them, you make more of an effort to be out there every day,” he said.
“When you’re on one-year deals constantly, you’ve got to put up as good numbers as you can. When you have days where you’re not feeling like you can contribute, you’re not going to go out there, because you’re not going to want your numbers to suck.
“So, if you’re in a situation like I am now, if they want me to go out there when I’m feeling a little banged up, I’ve got no problem doing that because they’ve made the commitment to me.”
Holy crap. Did he really just say what I think he said? No. No player would ever admit that they took games off when they weren’t really, truly injured because they were afraid it was diminish their rate stats, and thus diminish their free agent bucks. No one would say that.
Except Bradley just did.
On the one hand, it’s utterly outrageous. No one is expecting a guy to play with a broken pelvis – or a torn ACL, if you’d prefer an actual example – but to openly admit that you’ve sat out games just because you weren’t 100%? Yikes.
On the other hand, maybe it’s strangely reassuring. Now that Milton’s got his multi-year deal, maybe he’ll suddenly start suffering fewer hangnails and nosebleeds, and play 140 or 150 games.
“I know I can handle it,” he said Sunday. “It’s not even an issue.
“The whole thing with me is I play so hard until I hurt myself. In the past, I’ve been accused of not hustling on more than one occasion, and that’s the thing that hacks me off to no end, that somebody would accuse me of that as bad as I care and as badly as I want to win.
“I’m coming into a situation now where, if I have to tone it down in order to stay on the field, I need to tone it down. It hurts to have to do that, but it’s what I may have to do.”
He kind of just said both things at once. On the one hand, he says he’s ready to play 140, 150 games in right field. But on the other hand (so many hands in this post), he’s going to take things easy.
So, um, does that mean the Cubs are getting 140, 150 games of not-quite-playing-100%-but-not-taking-games-off-for-not-feeling-100%?