Milton Bradley and Lou Piniella had a little chat on Thursday, and the end result was the outfielder being benched until he's 100 percent healthy, and when he is, he'll be bumped to sixth in the order.
Bradley made his first start since April 12 on Wednesday, and went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. He is 1-for-23 with the Cubs so far, and has been bothered by a strained right groin that forced him out of the April 12 game in Milwaukee.
"He's not 100 percent," Piniella said of Bradley, who signed a three-year, $30 million contract with the Cubs this offseason. "When he's 100 percent, I'll put him out there to play. Until then, I'll use [Reed] Johnson and [Micah] Hoffpauir in the outfield."
Hoffpauir, who is 5-for-13 on the homestand, started in right on Thursday in the Cubs' series finale against the Cincinnati Reds.
"I don't play people unless they're totally healthy," Piniella said. "That's been my M.O. throughout my managerial career. With Milton, when he's ready to play, I'll put him out there.
"I told him, basically, I'll take him out of the fourth hole when he comes back and put him in the sixth hole, where he might be a little more comfortable, and we'll go from there," Piniella said. "When I get him out there, I expect him to run hard and play hard the way he always has."
Bradley has batted fourth all season between Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez.
Bradley was getting treatment after his conversation in Piniella's office, and not available to the media. He has not talked since collecting his only hit, a home run on April 10 in Milwaukee. Does he have a responsibility to address the press?
"Look, I think you can make it much easier on yourself communicating," Piniella said. "That's basically up to the individual. At the same time, you're in the public limelight and people want to know what's going on."
There was no talk about putting Bradley on the disabled list to give him time to heal. He had been bothered by the sore groin before the April 12 game, and does not appear close to being ready to come back. Piniella said he is available to pinch-hit.
Bradley also is waiting for a hearing on his appeal of a two-game suspension issued by Major League Baseball disciplinarian Bob Watson after the outfielder argued a called third strike by home-plate umpire Larry Vanover on April 16.