Suspended Cubs outfielder Milton Bradley(notes) apologized Wednesday for behavior that led to general manager Jim Hendry’s decision to banish him for the rest of the season.
“I chose Chicago as a free agent because I wanted to be part of finally bringing a championship to the Cubs’ fans. I expected to have a great season and I am deeply disappointed by my performance and the team’s struggles,” said Bradley, who signed a $30 million, three-year contract in the offseason.
But Bradley struggled and was booed loudly at Wrigley Field while hitting .257 with 12 homers and 40 RBIs, and the Cubs started Wednesday 7 1/2 games out of the NL wild card race at 78-72 after winning 97 games last season. Bradley said his frustration and disappointment caused him to act in a way he regrets.
“I wish that I handled certain things different and I apologize for those things that did not work out for the better,” he said in a statement. “The air has been cleared, and we all want to move on and look forward to better days.”
Cubs manager Lou Piniella said he appreciated Bradley’s comments.
“I’m happy to see that he issued the statement and apologized,” said Piniella, who clashed with Bradley several times this season. “You know"put that behind us and we just go forward.”
Hendry wouldn’t say before the Cubs took on the Milwaukee Brewers whether the switch-hitting outfielder will return next year.
“We’ll worry about next season when this season is over,” Hendry said. “We’ve got the rest of the season to play and we’re going to finish it up.”
The Cubs suspended Bradley with pay for the rest of the season on Sunday after a series of actions that Hendry declined to specify. A day earlier, Bradley said in a newspaper interview that he saw why the Cubs’ organization hadn’t won in 100 years and that the team didn’t have a “positive environment.”
The mood of the clubhouse in Milwaukee has been upbeat, and the Cubs won three in a row heading into Wednesday’s action. Hendry said he hasn’t spoken to Bradley, only with his agent, Seth Levinson.
When might Bradley and Hendry talk directly?
“No idea,” Hendry said. “Nothing to talk about now. He’s home for the rest of the year.”